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A digitized India is an inevitability, is the verdict at Ficci Frames 2016

Union minister Ravi Shanker Prasad expects Digital India to be worth $1 trillion in the next five years. Reliance Industries Chairman, Mukesh Ambani, says Jio would be a revolution

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Mumbai | March 31, 2016

L-R--Mukesh-Ambani,-Shri-Ravishankar-Prasad,-Uday-Shankar-and-Ramesh-Sippy (L-R) Mukesh Ambani,  Ravishankar Prasad, Uday Shankar and Ramesh Sippy

Union minister for Communications and Information Technology, Ravi Shanker Prasad, said on Wednesday that the Digital India and Make in India initiatives of the Union government were going to prove game changers for the media and entertainment industry. Digital, he saidat the 17th edition of Ficci Frames in Mumbai, was the enabler while content was the driver of the digital transformation taking place in India.

Prasad said Indians first watched technology, then used it gradually, before adopting it wholeheartedly. The time taken by an Indian to adapt to the digital medium may be long, but would be a surety, propelled by government initiatives.

Digital India, the minister said, had a huge potential and would be worth $1 trillion in the next five or six years. Of the trillion dollars, $400 billion would come from the electronics industry, $350 billion would come from IT and related services and the remaining $250 billion would come from the communications sector. Digital India, therefore, had a huge potential, he said.

The minister assured industry that he was sure of bringing about all the changes that had been sought by television and radio broadcasters, print and other media.

Mukesh Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Industries, spoke of how government initiatives were helping the development of Jio, a product that had created much buzz even before it was launched.  “Jio, which will be a revolution in the industry, is set to have a 70 per cent coverage post launch, compared to the mere current 15 per cent coverage by all network providers put together,” he said.

Digitization was the defining trend of the century, Ambani said. He said he saw his vision of bringing India on the list of the top 10 digitally empowered countries materializing with the launch of Jio. Broadband will get 40 per cent to 80 per cent faster and far more affordable than it is today.

Ambani listed five key trends that would drive digitization in the next decade. The first trend, he said, was the move from the oral to the visual. People want visual content more than written or verbal content. The second force driving digitization was the fact that digital technology was exponential. Thirdly, he said, the world was graduating to one of tele-media, where people were shifting from downloading to streaming.

Abundance, he said, would be a global trend, where both content and music would be consumed in profusion. Finally, Ambani said, digitization was not really about technology, but about humanity. It was about how technology made human work easier.

The 17th edition of Ficci Frames began with a keynote address by Star India CEO Uday Shankar, who is also Chairman of the Ficci Media and Entertainment Committee. Focusing on the agenda of the year, Shankar elaborated on the digital transformation of India.

He pointed out that cable television struggled to stay relevant in a rapidly changing world. Star India’s digital initiative, Hotstar, launched a year and a half ago, was also an effort to stay in tune with a constantly changing world. Direct to Home (DTH) had set out to revolutionize distribution, but is now destined to be increasingly locked in an isolated box, in a networked world, Shanker said.

“Advertisers do not seem to break new grounds when it comes to brand revolution. Content creators seem to be caught in a time warp, as they continue playing the same themes again and again,” Shanker said, adding, “The quality of news seems to cause only national consternation, with now even our friendly neighbour taking potshots at our news channels! Overall, it seems the more things change the more they remain the same.”

Shankar spoke of how India had progressed from viewing on television to viewing on a mobile screen. Hotstar, Star India’s own video-on-demand platform, has seen about 50 million downloads and this number is expected to grow.In a world that is going digital globally, consumers do not have the patience to revere traditional forms, he said.


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