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Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives at his hotel in Manhattan, New York. Photo: Mohammed Jaffer/Reuters
Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives at his hotel in Manhattan, New York. Photo: Mohammed Jaffer/Reuters

‘Digital evolution most transformational change seen by media industry’

Need for customized content among key points discussed at meeting between PM Modi and top executives of global media firms in New York

New Delhi: The need for customized content across sports, entertainment and education was one of the key points discussed in a 90-minute meeting on global media and technology trends between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and top executives of international media firms in New York on Thursday.

Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman, News Corp. and 21st Century Fox; Jeff Bewkes, CEO, Time Warner Inc., and Uday Shankar, chief executive of Star India Pvt. Ltd, were among those who were present at the meeting.

“The entire digital evolution is one of the most transformational change being witnessed by the global media and entertainment sector. This has impacted the nature of content being created because of personalization of media consumption. Now there is an opportunity for everyone to create content based on an individual’s needs and aspirations," Shankar said in a phone interview from New York.

Shankar added that the meeting with Modi also emphasized that not only should content be made for different groups of people, but also in local languages.

Star TV was among the first investors in India when the economy was liberalized in the 1990s and has emerged as the biggest investor in the Indian media sector. It’s also one of the top investors among all American companies in the last 20 years.

In the last decade alone, Star India has accelerated its investment plans to include distribution and increase its regional broadcasting footprint. Star India is a key investor in sports, globally, with a commitment of over $6 billion in rights and development of domestic leagues such as kabaddi, soccer, hockey, badminton and tennis.

Murdoch, who is a keen observer of global politics, expressed his belief in Modi on microblogging site Twitter Inc.

“Great hour with Indian PM Modi. Best leader with best policies since independence, but massive task to achieve in most complex nation," tweeted Murdoch soon after the CEOs’ roundtable.

Shankar said there was awareness and acknowledgement from everyone present at the meeting about the importance of Modi’s “Digital India" mission, which intends to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.

“When you come out of India, you can sense there is a lot of excitement and expectation about Prime Minister Modi. From an ordinary American citizen to those interested in international politics. I haven't seen or heard any head of state (interact) with this kind of global leadership of the media and entertainment sector." said Shankar.

The India media and entertainment industry, including print, television, radio, outdoor, digital, animation, gaming and music, is expected to touch 1.16 trillion in 2015, according to the Ficci-KPMG Indian Media and Entertainment Industry Report, 2015.

The government’s efforts, including an initiative to connect 600,000 villages with fibre optic cable, will allow mobile Internet penetration in areas where there is limited access to television and the ongoing process of digitization of cable services to address the issue of reach will help in providing easier content access.

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