New Delhi: James Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corporation (Europe and Asia), on Friday said India’s creative force can be awakened if regulatory hurdles could be unblocked.
“The key challenge for us here is really how you unlock these (regulatory) bottlenecks,” Murdoch said.
Murdoch, the son of media baron Rupert Murdoch, also met Information and Broadcasting minister Ambika Soni to discuss some of these issues.
Terming India’s creative force as “a sleeping tiger waiting to be awakened”, Murdoch said, “Only when a tiger is awake and engaged can we appreciate its force and majesty. That is our challenge with India’s creative sector: to imagine what this slumbering tiger might do in the right environment.”
He added that if Indian economy had a creative sector relative to its GDP, there could have been a $120 billion industry.
Media firms have often complained of hurdles like regulation of prices to distributors and end-consumer and non-exclusivity of content (broadcastors cannot get into exclusive content sharing contracts with distributors).
“For the creative sector, that begins today with a digital infrastructure that will allow the right incentives for a more diverse and dynamic industry. This can be done through the market by accelerating the liberalisation of rules with respect to investment, content, distribution and innovation,” he said.
He added that tremendous growth could be achieved “if things can be put in place and some of the bottlenecks could be unlocked.”
Star India, which operates television channels like Star Plus, Star Movies and Star World is one of the largest broadcasting groups in the country.
He said the group would continue to invest in India as it is a priority market.
“We are very proud of the business that we have here, but we continue to invest. It is a real priority for us and we continue to hire here...We continually raise our investments on what we put on screen for our customers,” Murdoch said.
He added that investments are also being made in its other ventures like DTH.
“We continue to be big investor in the DTH sctor with Tata Sky...we are enthusiastic, but also we think that the potential today is only a fraction of what it can be,” he said.
The country’s leading DTH services firm Tata Sky is a joint venture between the Tatas and Star India.
“I have been talking to my team around this basis to really try to encourage them to be bold in our thinking around how dynamic and how substantial the creative sector can be in India even (when) compared to an already dynamic and exciting place it is today,” Murdoch said