India’s media and entertainment industry, which is poised to be a Rs 2-lakh crore industry soon, expects the Narendra Modi government, which was re-elected with a thumping majority on Thursday, to improve the ease of doing business in the segment.
The industry expects several big ticket reforms under NDA 3. Experts say the broadcasting policy for both TV and radio requires an overhaul. OTT players are worried that any intervention from the government to regulate content might slow the growth of the industry. However, the internet-driven industry is hopeful that the government would improve the quality of telecom infrastructure in rural areas, which would lead to its next phase of growth.
Leaders from the broadcasting industry said the new tariff order of the Telecom Regulatory of Authority (TRAI) has done no good the industry and instead hit its growth and the NDA government, in its fresh tenure, should ensure the industry is treated fairly and in a manner that doesn’t disrupt the ecosystem.
Radio players are hoping that the government would sort out the long pending carriage of news issue along with the royalty issue with music labels.
Ashish Bhasin, the Chairman and CEO of DAN (Greater South), commented, “Business doesn’t like uncertainties so now that there is a decisive mandate in the favour of one party, I am hopeful strong and quick decision making will take place. Now with this strong mandate, we hope the government will take action on this quickly. As the economy does well, the M&E industry will also improve. So, I am hopeful we will see all this in the next few months and years.”
Apart from the policy frameworks, technology and transparency are the other two factors experts are focusing on in order to boost growth in the media and entertainment sector.
Punit Goenka, MD & CEO, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. | President, IAA India Chapter | Chairman, BARC India, stated, “Transparency and technology, in my opinion, are the two key important aspects that will boost the media and entertainment sector and hence the Government should continue its efforts to enable this convergence. Our nation is blessed with rich and immense creative potential, which needs to be further unleashed and capitalised in order to drive innovation and generate employment."
Avinash Pandey, CEO, ABP News Network, said the government should make way for investors to up the existing technology and make advancements in the sector.
“The industry is hopeful that the government will improve the quality of telecom infrastructure in the rural market, which will lead to its next phase of growth in the country. While television is the largest segment, growth will come from digital in future. The digital consumption will double in future so the M&E sector has a fantastic opportunity owing to India’s young demographics. The growth of digital infrastructure is enabling Indians to fulfil their requirement of personal content consumption, across languages and genres. The sector has an opportunity to serve billions in India and globally. Besides the need to focus on the policy framework, transparency and employment are the other two factors required to boost growth in the media and entertainment sector,” he said.
In the past few years, India has witnessed an unprecedented boom in digital consumption through various platforms such as over-the-top video streaming sites and social media. In order to create digital India, the Modi government had offered several favourable measures, one of which was low data cost.
Now with a stable government, Prashan Agarwal, CEO, Gaana, hopes that the newly appointed leadership will help establish a more favourable business environment that cements our country’s status as a global innovation hub. “The ongoing 4G revolution is a result of the favourable business environment created by the government's progressive policies. The rapid increase in the country’s internet population over the past few years has aided digital-first businesses like ours and triggered a widespread rise in customer-centric product development out of India,” he said.
Karan Bedi, CEO, MX Player, also wished to have technology and telecom infrastructure development in rural areas, which will further accelerate their entry into smaller markets while offering OTT players the opportunity to innovate and flourish at scale.
“Indian OTT platforms have benefitted from the historically low data prices that are a product of the government’s favourable measures. As the country’s largest video streaming platform, we are excited about the potential for growth in digital-driven ecosystems across semi-urban and rural India. Technology and telecom infrastructure development in these areas will further accelerate our entry into smaller markets while offering OTT players the opportunity to innovate and flourish at scale. It will also help more indigenous talent to emerge and trigger a cycle of inclusive growth,” he said.
For the radio sector, Nisha Narayanan, COO, Red FM, commented that with the NDA coming back to power for its second term, the radio industry is hoping to get some solutions to the issues the sector is facing. “A majority verdict hopefully means a decisive government and movement on the regulatory front. We expect the government to move forward on the music royalty issue facing all broadcasters. Streamline the problem relating to the carriage of news. Put forward a five-year roadmap where it showcases how it expects the private FM sector to pan out. This will help in better planning and allocation of resources on behalf of the radio players.”
Akshaara Lalwani, Founder and CEO, Communicate India, said she wants the government to continue to encourage ease of business, and fast-track opportunities, especially in the SME segment. She said there are two gaps which the government has to fill to future-proof the country’s talent. “I hope with the new government, we are able to establish the same. From the new government, I hope they will introduce the best business practices, which can put us on the global map of innovation and disruptive growth,” she added.