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FICCI Frames 2014 kicks off with call for creating environment for a free media

The 15th session of FICCI Frames, being held from March 12-14 in Mumbai, will brainstorm on different aspects of the media industry

Sohini Sen | Mumbai | March 13, 2014

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The 15th edition of FICCI Frames kicked off with several brainstorming sessions at Mumbai's Renaissance Hotel on Wednesday, March 12, 2014. Attended by the who's who of the television, media and movie industries, FICCI Frames 2014 promised to question, discuss and debate all trends seen in the media industry today.

The major focus of Frames this year is on the impact of digital media on television and movies. During the inaugural session, Uday Shankar, Chairman, FICCI Media & Entertainment Committee and CEO of Star India, said the media needed to generate jobs and attract more free minds. “Amidst an environment of gloom and doom, the media and entertainment industry registered an impressive growth of 12% last year. The fact that we have been able to deliver this in light of an overall economic growth of 4% and a major resetting of exchange rates is a testament to the tenacity of the industry’s leaders and stakeholders,” Shankar said.

“Media has always been important, but its role becomes even more vital in the election year. Our topmost agenda this year should be to promote and create the environment for a free media,” Shankar added.

Punit Goenka, CEO & MD, Zee Entertainment Enterprises, agreed with Shankar on the role media plays in the uplift of the social sector. According to him, television and media change and impact the lifestyle patterns of viewers. Goenka also pointed out that digitisation has played a key role in the healthy growth of media as seen in the recent KPMG report.

FICCI Frames also saw the release of the FICCI-Amarchand Lawbook which looks at different aspect of the media industry. The book has been brought out by Amarchand & Mangaldas and Suresh A Shroff & Co. The book talks about the year’s action stations, a special coverage on the regulation of the M&E industry, highlighting its impact on child actors, social media and its current role in political campaigning, the advertising limit on marketers and TV channels, the growth story of the Indian film industry as well as piracy and its repercussions. There is an exclusive case study on PVR, its exponential reach in the few years of its existence and the scope for further growth.

The inaugural session was also attended by Patrick Suckling, Australian High Commissioner to India. According to Suckling, Indian media needed to be in step with the globalisation that is taking place everywhere else in the world. Australia was going through similar changes as far as media is concerned. And the India-Australia partnership will be more important in the coming days, he said.

Guest of Honour, Ajit Pai, Commissioner, FCC, USA, said, “Countries may be divided geographically but are closer more than ever today because of media. Therefore, it is our duty to protect investment to create good content. In the USA, as people enjoy the golden age of media, internet video providers are impacting the market in a big way. Companies like Netflix have more subscribers than any cable operator has. Therefore, India should also be ready to provide viewers with the freedom to watch what they want, when they want.”

Bimal Julka, Secretary, Union Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, said, “India is going through a paradigm shift because of digitisation. This is going to put India in the league of advanced countries. Entertainment tax collection will increase; payment to broadcasters will also increase. But the biggest gain will be seen in the investment in broadcasting sector.”

Ashok Mansukhani, President, MSO Alliance, said, “FICCI has brought a disparate industry and made it into one. IT is the only one with the capacity to bring television, film, creative industry and then give us the international exposure which we need.”

The inaugural session ended with a vote of thanks by Ramesh Sippy, Co-Chairman, FICCI Media & Entertainment Committee. The session was also shortly attended by actor Sonam Kapoor who lit the lamp.

Sohini.Sen@BestMediaInfo.com

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