Mumbai: The Government does not favour recommendations of the draft optical disk policy on combating piracy as suggestions by industry would lead to creation of a regime of inspectors that would go against the grain of the policy of liberalization.This was stated by Asha Swarup, secretary, Information & Broadcasting while addressing the inaugural session of Ficci-Frames 2008.
Acknowledging that the menace of piracy in the entertainment and media industry was huge, she recommended tackling the problem by closing supply side gaps. A possible way, she said, was to release films and ‘C’ and ‘D’ class towns on digtial formats.
She concurred with observations made by Rajeev Chandrasekhar, MP & president, Ficci; Yash Chopra, chairman, Ficci Entertainment Committee & Yashraj Films Pvt. Ltd.; and Kunal Dasgupta, co-chairman, FICCI Entertainment Committee & CEO, Sony Entertainment TV.
To the concern expressed on piracy and banning of films, she pointed out that it was unfortunate that recent films like ‘Jodha Akbar’ and ‘Aaa Jaa Nach Le’ faced problems inspite of being cleared by Censor Board of India. “The I & B Ministry, in consultation with Ministry of Home Affairs, will see how best we can tackle the issue,” she assured delegates.
Over 2500 Indian and foreign delegates from 17 countries are attending the three-day Ficci-Frames 2008. Foreign representation is from Australia, Canada, France Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Italy, Malaysia, Pakistan, South Africa, Thailand, UAE, the UK, USA, Korea, Switzerland, and New Zealand.
More than 30 sessions on will present insights into trends in the media and entertainment industry and show the way forward. Topics include, ‘changing face of TV news; ‘resurgence of language media’, ‘developing animation content’, ‘new age technology and emerging production pipelines in animation’, ‘raising capital’, ‘linguistic diversity in Indian cinema’, ‘radio for the masses’, ‘scope of international co-productions’, ‘talent crunch in the industry’, ‘film marketing & distribution’, ‘importance of digital cinema’, ‘animation, IP creation, protection and life cycle’, ‘visual effects’, ‘mobile entertainment’, ‘sports as entertainment’ and ‘revenue streams in multiplexes’.
The event unfolds against the backdrop of a 17% growth in the Indian entertainment & media (E&M) industry in 2007 over the previous year. The industry reached an estimated size of Rs513 billion (Rs51, 300 crore) in 2007, up from Rs438 billion in 2006. In the last four years 2004-07, the industry recorded a cumulative growth of 19% on an overall basis, according to the Ficci- PwC Report on Indian Entertainment and Media Industry 2008.
The inaugural session saw presentations by Viviane Reding, European commissioner, Information Society & Media, European Commission; Stewart Beck, assistant deputy minister, Investment, Innovation and Sectors, Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Canada; Dominique Dreyer, ambassador of Switzerland to India; and Amit Khanna, chairman, Reliance Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. and chairman, Ficci Convergence Committee.
Swarup expressed satisfaction on Pakistani films being released in India and Indian films like ‘Taare Zamin Par’ getting an entry into Pakistan. She hoped that with a new democratic government in place in Pakistan, the situation will further improve and more Indian films would be screened in Pak.
She emphasized the need for development of content for TV viewers, especially children. Currently, TV content was focused on just a small section of viewers, and that there was need for more innovative content for all sections of viewers.
A Ficci-PwC report on the Indian entertainment Industry and the Ficci Amarchand Mangaldas Law Book on legal aspects of the industry were released on the occasion.
Rajeev Chandrasekhar,said that the entertainment Industry has today reached a point of critical mass from the early goals of nine years ago and could only go further from here. The challenge for the entertainment industry over the next few years, will be to scale up and become globally relevant to capital markets, investors, producers and consumers of entertainment across the globe.
Scaling up for entrepreneurial companies is not a trivial task, rather it requires a mindset and approach that is quite different from the proprietary approach to running companies. “I look forward to the day when the entertainment sector becomes as relevant internationally as are companies like Infosys and TCS in the realm of InfoTech and software services and Reliance and Airtel in telecom.
Chandrasekhar said the biggest challenge to scaling up the entertainment industry was the issue of human assets. The government, according to him must look into this issue as a critical focus area and look at rapidly creating capacity in terms of either new institutes in the country or partnerships with neighbouring institutions.