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FICCI Frames 2015: With more segmentation, more niche channels are needed, says Harit Nagpal

The Tata Sky MD and CEO presented the theme address on ‘Making India the global entertainment superpower’ at the inaugural session of the three-day media convention in Mumbai on March 25

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Mumbai | March 26, 2015


FICCI Frames 2015 had Harit Nagpal, MD and CEO, Tata Sky, presenting the theme address on ‘Making India the global entertainment superpower’ at the inaugural session. The annual three-day Indian Media and Entertainment event is being held in Mumbai from March 25-27.

Noting that India now stands in the top 50 media and entertainment economies in the world, Nagpal believes that the advantage here is that we are the only ones who are growing in double digits. “It has been at the same level for the last five years. So, my concern here is how to grow from here in order to become a superpower. We should ask ourselves two questions at this stage – are we going to do ‘different things’ and are we doing things ‘slightly differently’.”

Harit Nagpal Harit Nagpal

Asking everyone to stay away from a herd mentality, Nagpal remarked, “If one format works, there are 20 followers. New pay TV channels are launching every day. They copy the formats and become free-to-air once they fail. What one fails to understand here is that there is no room for any more ‘Star Plus’es or ‘Zee’s and also there will be only one Arnab Goswami and one Barkha Dutt. So, every time a new GEC is launched, and when they churn out the same stuff, their viewership and revenue see a dip. Channels keep multiplying and then they are forced to carry 20-22 minutes of advertisements. The sector regulator starts questioning this and these broadcasters move the courts.”

Observing that sourcing of content creators is restricted to big cities, while there are gems in the rural areas, Nagpal believes that production centres should also move to smaller towns, where the talent is.

According to him, the addition of movie screens has helped the film industry, especially small-budget films. Films that have been made on a budget of a few crores have seen higher return on investments. “Though India makes the highest number of films, the industry is not making much money. This is because the country is still under-serviced in terms of screens,” he pointed out.

Nagpal added that films often made money based on the television rights, and with digitised homes, films would be making more money from cable and satellite rights. “Many films are breaking even on C&S rights,” he remarked.

Giving credit to the new Government’s speedy approvals as compared to the past, Nagpal felt that the rules for setting up a business were extremely tiresome, because there were numerous approvals and nods required from the Government. “We have been waiting for an approval from the I&B Ministry for Rs 250 crore. The money for the project has already come. But, if the approval doesn’t come in the next 48 hours, I will have to return that money to the foreign investors,” he added.

Backing the self-regulation route, Nagpal said, “We are here to inform and not to seek approval. If we violate the rules, then cancel our license and punish us. Otherwise, these small everyday pending approvals take a larger shape and they start hampering the industry in total.”

Meanwhile, actor Aamir Khan, who was also part of the inaugural address, touched upon the lack of content for children on television. “Around 80 per cent of children today do not consume content made for kids, but prefer to watch programmes on other GECs. As creative persons, we have to see how we influence the mindset of kids. By introducing kids to good content, we can transform our own perspective on the country,” he observed.

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