A seminar on ‘Media and Entertainment’ was held at the ongoing ‘Make in India’ event in Mumbai, yesterday. The panel consisting of Kabir Bedi (Actor), Rajjat Bharjatya (MD & CEO, Rajshri Ent.), Pradeep Nair (MD Autodesk India), Valsa Nair Singh (Secretary Tourism & Culture, Govt. of Maharashtra) Udhay Singh (MD, MPDA) and Vinit Karnik(Business head, ESP properties), discussed various issues related to media and especially Digital media in India
Speaking on the occasion, Pradeep Nair highlighted the importance of making Indian content available to the global audiences. He said, “Excessive regulation and red tape dramatically increases the cost of doing business and creates uncertainties for our companies. Imagination tells us what to do in our business but legislation tells us how to do it. As the world is shrinking there are people thinking how to make Indian content available to the world. We must effectively share our content with other countries and give them an opportunity to learn who we are and how much we can share in common.”
Speaking about the initiatives that the government should take to promote Indian talent, Kabir Bedi said, "When you talk about projecting India, the question that arises is how you enter the consciousness of the people. It is not about sending Indian content abroad but it is a concept called ‘soft power’. USA is not a superpower only because of its armed forces but because they have created a perception about themselves in the world through various platforms about the soft power they hold. There is BBC and then there is Turner who converted CNN into a powerful media house. Today in a hotel in Beverly Hills you may not get BBC but you will get CNN for sure. This is because Turner used the technology to grow. When we talk about ‘Make in India’, it is about creating the perception and there needs to be a digital strategy. We have to look at the way India is perceived as a nation and I think and believe the strategy has to be digital because that is the future and what Turner did with CNN is what India can do in the digital age.”
Elaborating the shift that digital media has witnessed over the years, Rajjat A Barjatya added, "Digital platform is more effective as compared to cinema and TV to take content to any corner of the world. We are at the cusp of a huge opportunity. At Rajshri we are investing in three areas on the digital front--- kid’s mythology, Indian yoga and Indian food and we have digital channels for the same. Our next phase is to localize our content for the areas we serve in. The third phase is to broaden the concentration on the languages that have more demand and eventually we may add Indian music to it too.” He ended by stating that he believes that this is the way Indian content would go global.
On being asked if advertising will work in selling Indian content, Vinit Kartik expressed his opinion by saying, “Digital media is the new traditional media, because we in the core media business often segregate ourselves into traditional media and non traditional media. The content needs to change constantly, we in India are great storytellers and we need to do that in a different way. The content on digital platforms is consumed mainly by the youth and the youth today are restless and need constant change therefore it is very important to create new content so it can be consumed more effectively. In order to make money out of content and speaking of advertising in the digital space, I feel we should move towards subscription revenue. The content and the ideas may sell but monetization may not be possible.”
Valsa Nair Singh assured that the government of Maharashtra is doing everything possible to support the media industry in the state. She said “This is a season of change; we along with other seasons of the year would now say that this is the season of single windows. There are days when I rush from one place to another just to attend single window meetings. Being a part of the ‘Make in India’ movement I agree with all our panelists, digital is the future. Since we are in Maharashtra and this is the land of movies, we want to start the single window clearance system with the movies. Most of the producers were moving out of Maharashtra. They demanded for easy approval procedures and secondly a better taxation policy and we have agreed to both. The pilot of this common application form has been uploaded on the Mumbai Film City site and in a single day filmmakers would get permission to shoot anywhere in Mumbai and in three months this will start for the entire state. We are trying our best to restructure the tax policy. Content creation is very important and we are fully committed to make all the necessary changes to make Maharashtra a content hub.”
Vinit Karnik said that a content hub in the state would do wonders for digital content creation. He said, “We sell the maximum number of Box Office tickets, but in the digital system are we proud to say that we produce more content? I don’t think so! Because in the digital space the content can’t be with a particular studio or person as such it has to be rested on a platform which can be seen by many people around the world. A content hub would be the answer of producing lot of content by unknown people too. Most of the good content that is viral is created by local unknown people and not by celebrities. The scripts for a movie or TV can’t be the same for digital platforms and therefore a hub would be ideal”