Indian M&E sector should define its own strength rather than play catch-up with other countries: Smriti Irani

MUMBAI: Information and broadcasting (I&B) minister Smriti Irani has said that the Indian media & entertainment (M&E) industry should define itself on its own strengths rather than play catch-up with other countries.

“We need to define our media and entertainment industry on its own strengths and not try to play catch-up with others,” Irani said in a Q&A session with filmmaker Karan Johar at the inauguration of FICCI Frames 2018.

She also stated that the Indian content creators should address the huge domestic market through personalisation of content.

“The answer to such challenges lies in digital India and personalisation of content,” she added.

Irani said that the industry needs to sit down with mobile manufacturers and come up with technological solutions to aid the content viewing experience.

“We need to enhance the consumer experience. We, as an industry, need to sit with mobile phone manufacturers on how to increase the audio and video delivery quality on mobile devices,” Irani said.

She also said that the government is looking to boost the M&E ecosystem. However, there is a need to figure out the exact size of the sector.

Irani said that the M&E industry is not just about song and dance as it creates a lot of value for the economy. She also stated that the industry needs to realise its potential as it provides 3.6 million jobs directly and indirectly.

Irani also informed that the government is creating an umbrella body to provide assistance to filmmakers.

“We are planning to create a committee that will bring all of these functionalities under one umbrella…We would like to leverage technology to ensure that the distance between government and a filmmaker needing assistance is lessened,” she said.

She also stated that the industry needs to look at using artificial intelligence to enhance customer experience.

“Can we use data analytics to understand the needs of the consumer because it tells us what kind of content they are consuming, what they want in terms of viewership etc. It might seem intrusive to a few people but with an expanding market, data analytics can help you create more content that the consumers want,” she said.

Irani also said the government is planning to make the Indian Institute of Mass Communication a deemed university so that it helps the students enhance their creativity by allowing them to pursue different subjects.

“Creativity is at its best when it is multi- disciplinary. Te IIMC as a deemed university can create an academic ecosystem where on its own it gives its students an opportunity to study every kind of subject so that the creative instinct of its students is not just inclined to one subject but enhances all of it,” she said.