K Madhavan, Chairman, CII National Committee on Media & Entertainment and Country Manager & President, Disney Star, sought timely support from the policymakers and regulators on the opening day of 11th CII Big Picture Summit in New Delhi.
In his welcome address focussed on ‘Scaling new heights of Content, Creativity, Innovation’, Madhavan said that in the most challenging environment, timely support from policymakers and regulators is of utmost importance to address some of the most critical issues for the industry.
Raising the issue of rampant piracy, Madhavan said that Intellectual Property is core to our business, and we need stricter and more supportive IP protection and anti-piracy measures.
Talking about the new tariff order (NTO), Madhavan said, “Television broadcasting has been severely impacted, pending a resolution on NTO. A quick resolution is important for consumers, broadcasters as well as distributors. Ideally, we should adopt a principle of forbearance, in line with practices in most of the developed markets. We are closely working with Dr. Vaghela (TRAI chairman) and TRAI on this matter and are hopeful of a positive resolution soon.”
Madhavan said that the industry would like to see a light touch regulation. “It will encourage especially in the newer and growing areas like OTT, innovation and investment,” he said.
“Considering the potential of the gaming industry, the govt should bring regulatory clarity at a National level for the growth of the segment,” Madhavan added.
Putting forth the fifth expectation, Madhavan said, “We are also looking to the ministry of I&B for support on a comprehensive National Broadcast Policy covering Cable Television Network Act and in retaining a light tough policy framework, especially in areas related to content.”
Beginning with a critical look at the media and entertainment industry in India, CII M&E chair said, “The reality is that our sector remains under-penetrated. The media & entertainment industry accounts for less than 0.9% of GDP, compared to 3 to 4% for many of the developed countries. Also, both subscription and ad revenues in India are much below global levels.”
“If we look at some of our sub-segments – In a country with 300 million households, 100 million households are still without a television set, which provides enough headroom for growth. The broadcasting industry being a powerful medium to educate, inspire and empower viewers – it is pertinent, that the government and industry join together to provide television access to all households in India,” he added.
Streaming a fast-growing sector
“This segment is expected to continue witnessing strong double-digit growth. It is also important to mention here that the rollout of 5G services will provide it a further boost. Light touch regulation is critical, for continued innovation and investment in streaming businesses,” Madhavan said.
“The movie segment is passing through a challenging time. While regional movies have done relatively better, overall, it is time for the industry to think boldly and redefine its approach. It is time for Bollywood to take a serious look at the recent box office failures and redefine its strategy to attract both local and global audiences. Some of the recent regional movies have been very successful both in India and on global streaming platforms and it is validation that we have the potential to take our movies to global audiences. And it is time for us to work towards this goal,” he said.
Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comic (AVGC) sector
“AVGC is an 800-billion-dollar industry globally. Yet, even with the huge talent force available in the country, we do not even have a one percent share. This can be another IT like sector, and we can definitely target a 5% market share in 5 years time. That is close to 40 billion dollars and with a potential to create 160,000 jobs,” said Madhavan.
“Gaming is another high-growth segment, with skill-based gaming an important contributor. However, there is a lot of ambiguity around it without a lack of clarity on gaming and gambling, with some states disallowing genuine gaming operations. Globally, gaming is estimated to be a 230-billion-dollar industry and here too, our market share is less than one percent. Bringing regulatory clarity at the national level, therefore, is important for the growth of this segment,” he said.
“Sports in India is still at a nascent level. We have recently seen billions of dollars being committed to sports rights. The policymakers and regulators should provide a robust environment for continuous investments that can transform India into a sporting nation. The regulator should leave price discovery for distribution to the market mechanism. Investments in indigenous sports like Kabaddi will definitely encourage the adoption of sports all over India including in villages,” Madhavan said.
Indian content for global audiences
“I see a big opportunity taking our content to global audiences. South Korea has set a great example in demonstrating repeatedly that good content travels beyond boundaries and beyond language barriers. Despite having a strong ecosystem of talent, production efficiencies and creative capabilities, we have not been able to make a mark at the global stage. This is an area where the industry needs to put its head together and put in all its efforts to create travelable content and become storytellers to the world,” Madhavan said.
Madhavan said that news, print, music and radio continue to be important contributors to the industry and are undergoing massive changes. “It is time for these sectors to understand the changing consumer habits and re-invent themselves with a digital approach,” he suggested.
With the right support from policymakers and regulators I am confident that with the opportunities ahead of us, our industry can achieve its 100 Billion Dollar ambition in the shortest possible time, Madhavan highlighted.