In the past few years, the Indian Media and Entertainment industry has undergone a severe turmoil when it comes to be morally right. From Viacom18 Motion Pictures’ Padmaavat controversy to Sony Entertainment Television’s Pehredaar Piya Ki and Star Bharat’s crime drama Savdhaan India uproar, the audience has often questioned the credibility of content on moral grounds.
With digital platforms booming, the moral dilemmas are no longer limited to content but have been extended to the consumption of the content. Who should or shouldn’t access data. How can one ensure that content is not misused? How and where do we draw the line, differentiating personalisation versus privacy? The list of moral dilemmas is endless.
At CII Big Picture 2018’s theme address, ‘Changing M&E landscape-from convergence to transformation,’ Sudhanshu Vats, Chairman, National Committee on Media & Entertainment and Group CEO & MD, Viacom18, spoke on such moral dilemmas faced by the industry.
Vats said as the list of moral dilemmas is endless, they need to be cognizant of such issues as organisations, industry bodies, policymakers and governments as they look to scale up their businesses.
“I’ve always been an ardent supporter of data and its importance in driving decision making. In this address, I have not used a single data point because I believe that the course we take over the next decade will be determined more by these fundamental issues of values and how we tackle moral dilemmas than just commercial considerations. Driving consensus will be difficult yet more important than ever before. This is even more so given that India is today among the world’s largest ‘open’ media markets and home to a multitude of players from all over and of all sizes,” Vats said.
Vats cited an example of a mythological show Mahabharata where on hearing that ‘Ashwathama is dead’, Drona put down his arms and was killed by Dhrishtadyumna. The debate was on whether Yudhisthira was right in doing what he did, when he spoke the half-lie to Guru Drona. “Yudhisthira had to spend a day in hell to make up for his half-lie. He was willing to spend a lifetime there to atone for his sins. I’m not sure that we are as brave as him. We must tread carefully, follow our dharma in the toughest of times and be patient. Only then will we have truly transformed,” he concluded.