Shubhra Bhardwaj, Creative Director, Ferriswheel Entertainment

Learning from running an 'Intellectual Property' by Shubhra Bhardwaj

Entertainment | March 20, 2015 | Interview

Ferriswheel Entertainment Shubhra Bhardwaj

From Percept’s Sunburn to Wizcraft’s IIFA and Ferriswheel’s Worldfest, intellectual properties (IPs) have been gaining due attention and there seems to be a new IP launched every day. With the event industry in India likely to reach INR 5500/- crores by 2015 (source: Whitepaper by EnY), IPs have a great way to go. Niche festivals and distinctive entertainment offerings are becoming the new norms as the entire industry is focusing on the growth trajectory while IPs are becoming the new revenue models.

The recently concluded international performing arts festival Worldfest at Lavasa is conceptualized by Ferriswheel Entertainment and attempts to bring the world together in one place. Ferriswheel has over the years been associated with large-scale events like the opening/closing ceremonies of Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, National Games, World Cup Kabaddi, Military World Games, amongst other.

The Founder and Creative Director of the company, Shubhra Bhardwaj, is an Indian entrepreneur, poet and an artistic director. She is a pioneer in the field of Indian folk arts and has two decades of experience in the field of sports, performing arts and entertainment. We caught up with her to have a little chat about IPs, below are her insights.


Talk about how IPs are the next big thing. What does it take to create a successful one and nurture the same?

IPs are the future because the industry is maturing – the people are ready to experience new things, hence making it a great time to experiment and bring out exciting concepts. More and more people are participating in many events and activities like running, cycling, camping, etc. which shows that people are open to trying new things. This is also a sign of the economy - most people are financially comfortable and are looking for ways to spend their surplus money. The industry is creating opportunities for the same, making it a great time for IPs.

You will rarely see the commercial or ‘formula’ movies win awards, it’s always the art films that are breaking ground. Similarly the people coming up with IPs must believe in them and sustain them. For example: In the first year of Worldfest, I didn’t make a profit, I broke even. That doesn’t mean I should stop hosting the IP. Money shouldn’t drive you, but passion should. So if you think that the idea has potential and is quite original, you will succeed if you stick to it. Just being a business won’t work, values and virtues are important as well.


What works / ensures success of a new IP?

Firstly you’ve to be clear about what you want and who you want to engage. Basically, how you position yourself in the market considering its reality is vital. There’s 15 years of me being in the industry to have started Ferriswheel 5 years ago. You need to be very aware of the market, where the business lies, what works, what doesn’t. Beyond that, the rest is all just paraphernalia.

There is no particular formula to follow, your gut instinct is what will make you succeed. To break the clutter, you’ll obviously need very unique ideas, designs and experiences. You need something innovative that will push the envelope. It is important to have an intelligent and original approach and if you’re good at what you do you will break the clutter. You have to be consistent, focused, determined and have belief in your concept. You need to have the long-term vision and keep going with what you’re doing since you believe in it.


Ferriswheel has been associated with the opening/closing ceremonies of mega sport events. What skill-sets are involved to win such pitches?

What we bring to the table is heavy duty preparation. Clients are always impressed with the amount of homework we do so when they see the preparation they know they can trust us with the job. I rarely even use past work we’ve done to show what we are capable of. Having trained in the west and delivered work in over 64 countries across large platforms adds to my experience.

Because we are thorough, we are efficient. Because we’re efficient, we’re cost-effective. These three factors support our ground-work and creativity. With extensive research we have all the answers and provide ideas while making sure we never compromise on delivery. Why do the same projects keep coming back? Because they know they can trust us to do great job.


Worldfest is Ferriswheel’s major IP, how was it initiated?

Worldfest basically manifests everything I’ve been doing and where my expertise lies. The platform itself, in the future, will become a vehicle for multiple agendas to meet. It is a platform for the travel industry to put forward their products and services - they’re all dealing with travel/tourism but don’t have an experiential outing to associate with.

When I see myself as a traveller, I see the fest as a fabulous experience for anyone to travel - you can experience multiple destinations at just one place. We had 12 countries this year and want to continue expanding. What Sunburn is to the music domain, Worldfest is to the culture domain. With 10 days of programming, there’s pretty much everything for everyone. With the 4th one scheduled for this year, the previous editions have only strengthened my faith in the IP.


Please talk about how IPs are putting India on the international radar.

What impression does Worldfest give? It is a celebration of life where people from abroad come to India and look at it as a safe destination. This makes it a great impression for the country and it also boosts tourism. The world will see it as a tourist-friendly and unity-oriented destination. When people start flocking in, it impacts the immediate economy of the region – retail, hotel, transport levels etc. increase. Everyone is aware of IPs like these because of the experiential impact they all have. We have the required support from authorities since the fest boosts the number of foreign tourists and gives everyone performances by foreigners hence making everyone experience the world. It is a complete win-win situation.

The Creative Director of Ferriswheel talks about IPs, what goes into launching and sustaining them, their impact on the country and more.

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