Even as Italy and India came together to create yet another Ficci-Frames in Mumbai this year, the media industry gathered to watch this three-day convention unfold the realities of where we are all headed.
The lamp was lit, and Rahul Sharma’s Santoor filled the auditorium with the music of its 100 strings, minutes before the event took off. Present to honour the inauguration of the Frames event this year were Yash Chopra and Kareena Kapoor from Bollywood, SK Arora, Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Kunal Dasgupta, CEO of Star SET India, Timmy Kandhari, Executive Director from PriceWaterCoopers among various other national and international film personalities like actors Giancarlo Giannini and actress Anna Galiena from Italy.
Habil Khorakiwala, President of Ficci was the first to be called on stage by moderator Dr Amit Mitra, Secretary General of Ficci.
“I am overwhelmed by the gathering. The entertainment industry has become truly global today; we are thrilled to be partnering with the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and extremely grateful to Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi,” said Khorakiwala.
Khorakiwala said that one of the greatest highlights of the convention was to have Paulo Lodi, the Italian Minister representing their partnership with Italy. “We have various mutual interests with Italy. The entertainment industry is growing at the rate of 18 percent, and according to the PwC study, business opportunities in the media will reach 25 million US$ in the next five years,” he said.
According to him, media companies benefit tremendously from the Frames every year. He said they would target events on an international level also. “This year we will be honouring both Kamal Haasan and Rekha, with the FICCI Living Legend Award.
“We are also hosting the Best Animated Frames Award for excellence in animation and have received more than 300 entries. We have almost 35 sessions besides this on topics ranging from films, co-productions, intellectual property rights and are hoping to build many new relationships through this,” he said.
Timmy Kandhari, Executive Director, PwC presented their media report and spoke about the key developments, industry performance, projected growth and future of the media that the study had found for 2006.
“Firstly, in terms of the key developments that there have been, there is a diversification that we have found. Companies are entering newer domains, as television companies are getting into films and print organizations are entering the radio space,” he said.
“Secondly, the activity in the radio domain has also increased, as the issue about licensing has been on the fore. Thirdly, distribution platforms have increased as the realisation has come in that content is king. Lastly, there has been an increased amount of foreign investments in the media and various companies that are into television, films, animation, and new media have all benefited from this,” he said.
He added that the industry has grown by 20 percent, and has reached a finance of 437 billion dollars. “This is extremely healthy. Segments that dominate currently are television, print and film. By 2011, it is estimated that the industry will hit 1 trillion US$, a growth of 18% in the next five years,” he said.
The FICCI Amarchand Mamgaldas Law Book 2007 was also released, which details legal aspects for investment in the industry.
Yash Chopra, filmmaker and Chairman of FICCI Entertainment Committee was called upon to the stage next, who spoke about his views on the convention. “FICCI has signed some very important deals. “We have some great co-productions taking place in the industry, with various exchanges between Hollywood and Bollywood,” he said.
Chopra added, “Many people are skeptical about the media reports, but I think that there is definitely a great growth, and the reason is that the world is expanding. Within the next five years, we will multiply the number of prints. Production, distribution, regulation have all come together. I think that negativity and a short vision are not going to help us. Indian films have a great potential and can do great business if we forget all the smaller things.”
The next to come up on stage was Kunal Dasgupta, CEO of Star SET India Pvt Ltd and co-chairman of the FICCI Entertainment Committee. “FICCI has become an international forum. One of the greatest concerns today is that the value should be shared properly,” he said.
Dasgupta added, “There is conflict between regulation and power; as power shifts are seen between the actor, the platform and finally the consumer, and there is a question about who will determine the price and how the price should be shared. It is very complex and there is lots of friction between producers, theatre owners, cable, and IPTV owners; in radio for instance between advertisers for the accumulation of music rights. The challenge is for us to find fairness.”
Goffredo Bettini, President of ‘Fondazione Cinema per Roma’, who launched the Rome film festival also spoke. “Today people are convinced that Rome can contribute. India has a great film heritage. This year, in our festival we plan to have a special focus on India, and have great Indian films promoted. We also plan to host cinema from other countries with a focus on those that have heritage too,” said Bettini.