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FICCI Frames 2013: Talking to a billion consumers

Regulatory changes key to exponential growth; need to localise content through multiple media vehicles

FICCI Frames 2013: Talking to a billion consumers

Regulatory changes key to exponential growth; need to localise content through multiple media vehicles

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Mumbai| March 13, 2013

In a packed room at FICCI Frames 2013, M&E enthusiasts and media honchos followed a lively panel discussion on “Engaging a Billion Consumers in media and entertainment industry”. The panelists included Ravi Dhariwal, CEO, Publishing, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd, Punit Goenka, MD and CEO, Zee Entertainment Enterprises, Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO, Viacom 18 Media, Siddarth Roy Kapur, MD, Studios, Disney UTV, Rahul Johri, Senior VP & GM – India, Discovery Networks Asia Pacific, and Shailesh Rao, Head of Global Operations, Twitter Inc.

They all were in consensus that the principal means of engaging with a billion consumers is to localise content through multiple media vehicles. The panel agreed that the three fundamental drivers of exponential growth were regulatory changes, exploding forms of new technology and original and creative content. From the three, regulatory changes are seen as the biggest challenge by the panel.

“I feel that we (TV broadcasters) are creating content indiscriminately, rather than concentrating on content for newer platforms. We are not broadcasters anymore; we are content creators and aggregators. We aren't working together and hence we aren't aligned to offer solutions and appropriate content," said Punit Goenka.

Localization is of the essence that will drive the industry to grow exponentially and involve a billion consumers through multiple interfaces. Rahul Johri felt that localization works in connecting to a lot of untapped viewers and gave the example of Discovery channel that is broadcast in regional channels. This enables in increasing the market for content that has traditionally been restricted to niche audiences.

Other speakers touched upon elements of expanding the audience and the consumer universe by opting for traditional and non-traditional devices and screens as well as creating media labs that try and test the billion-consumer experiment. Ravi Dhariwal suggested creating a business model using creative and marketing teams that roll out a programme across the country using multiple interfaces and content.

Sudhanshu Vats outlined a dilemma of catering to small versus larger audiences. While multiplexes and other multi-format screens are growing, at the same time, on a macro level, it is digitization and fresh content that is exploding on different platforms like tablets and smartphones that has opened business opportunities and the access to a billion consumers.

The power of regional films, parallel cinema, digital content and the Indian diaspora should be given special standing, felt Siddharth Roy Kapur.

Shailesh Rao said that understanding the mood of the audience and how they want to consume media is the salient aspect of Twitter’s business model. Supporting their need for diverse content is the drive to sample newer and newer smart phones.

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