Stakeholders dwell on how to kickstart next decade of growth for Indian M&E sector

MUMBAI: The first day of FICCI Frames 2019 witnessed a panel discussion on the topic ‘Indian M&E Industry – Global Goes Indian’. The theme session saw key decision makers from government and industry discuss and deliberate on kickstarting the next decade of growth for Indian M&E.

The session was moderated by Star India chairman and CEO and FICCI VP Uday Shankar Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) secretary Amit Khare and Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister chairman Bibek Debroy as the panellists.

In his opening remarks, Shankar had informed that the share of Indian M&E sector in the national GDP is less than a per cent. He also noted that even a country like Brazil has already crossed the 1% mark and are close to 1.5% of the GDP.

Shankar asked the panellists as to how can the M&E industry increase its share in the national GDP?

In response to this question, Khare said that the industry and the government should work together and the emphasis should be more on encouraging content from small states which has abundance of talent.

He also said that Indian content creators should exploit the opportunities in the global market where the demand for Indian content is high.

He also feels that the emerging technology on which India does have an advantage is animation. “We have software hub in Hyderabad and the type of entertainment that is coming especially in west is about gaming, animation. This is one area where technology wise we can lift ourselves.”

He also highlighted that there should be more focus on content creation for kids. He said, “Doordarshan does not have any kids’ channel. Many of the 875 channels that we have licenced have very little focus on kids.”

Summing up, Khare said that the three focus areas should be 1) Encourage the states particularly the North Eastern states which has lot of talent, 2) Tapping the international market with the domestic content and 3) Increasing the number of theatres.

Agreeing with Khare, Shankar said that the industry is also very keen to focus on all the three things. He further said that the problem with the lack of theatre is that the new theatres are not coming and while more films are being made in Hindi and other regional language film, is becoming really a challenge for those films to get released in the theatre.

Throwing light on television, Shankar said that the Indian TV content went from being primarily Hindi in the early 90s followed by a wave of regionalisation with Bengali, Tamil, and Telugu content coming up.

He also said that localisation has not happened in India because the infrastructure to do so does not exist.

Debroy feels that the problem is not specific to the M&E industry. If there is income growth obviously there will be expenditure. “India has strengths in human resources, since M&E industry is driven by human resources obviously India should be doing well in this sector, not only within the country but also overseas.”

Khare noted that the policies and regulations have not been developed content wise. Rather, the regulation has been framed on the basis of platforms like print, broadcast and film. “Now with the convergence of platforms, the issues have become little more complicated as the same content is shown on the different platforms with different regulations.

This is an area where we need to refill and have some policy not for regulating but to provide a level playing field.”

Another issue raised by Shankar was that there is some kind of unevenness of the regulation and there is a requirement to align that. He also asked the panellists whether it is really feasible to regulate in a country as big and diverse as India.

Khare clarified that the idea is not to have one more regulation but to have a self-regulating mechanism where all platform would be actually supporting each other in spite of competing with each other. It should be a cooperative competition, he noted.

You may be interested