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Ficci Frames 2018: Digital revolution in India is centre of discussion

Panellists discussed how India stands a genuine chance of becoming the digital content hub of the world. But the threat of regulation from the content, data and economic perspectives threaten to take away this sheen

(L-R) Vynsley Fernandes, Vivek Couto, Vidya S Nath, Michael Sturm, Suhaan Mukherji, Archana Anand and Ali Hussein

On day three of Ficci Frames 2018, a session on digital revolution delved upon how the OTT players are making a dent in the industry and in the fast-paced digital world. It also touched upon the topic of regulation and subscription – the two pain points of the industry. Panellists discussed how India stands a genuine chance of becoming the digital content hub of the world. However, the threat of regulation, both from content, data and economic perspectives, threaten to take away this sheen.

Moderated by Vynsley Fernandes, Director, Castle Media, the panel included Vivek Couto, Executive Director, Media Partners Asia; Vidya S Nath, Director, Frost and Sullivan; Michael Sturm, Vice-President, Strategic Alliances and Channel Management, Verizon Digital Media; Suhaan Mukherji, Partner, PLR Law; Ali Hussein, COO, Eros Now and Archana Anand, EVP and Head of Digital, India, Z5 Business.

Digital content delivery through technologies like apps and streaming devices has witnessed explosive growth in past few years in India. Availability of inexpensive high speed internet along with a rise in smart devices, investments made by content creators in producing tailor-made content for digital platforms have been the core reasons for this meteoric rise.

Whether global or local, whatever the niche or genre, OTT services has become the centre of attention in the entertainment space and it must become sustainable businesses at some point.

Speaking of OTT in comparison to television, Nath said that the rise in OTT doesn’t mean the death of the television industry.

Describing the nature and the adverse effects of digital platforms, Anand said, “We are always on OTT, while traveling or even while waiting. It’s really about us consuming way more than we ever did before.”

Stressing on regional content market, she added, “We believe if we could create a platform that really richly serves content, in the language of your comfort, there is a really big market there that is waiting to be captured.”

Praising the diversity of India and its content creation, Sturm said, “India is not just about English and Hindi-speaking consumers, it has consumers consuming content in many more languages. I think India is the country in the world that produces the most content across the globe.”

Mukherji cautioned saying, “We should be very careful that we just don’t treat OTT or kids’ movies or IP networks the same way we treated everything else.”

“The OTT Industry is here to stay,” concluded Fernandes.

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