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Big Picture Conference: Digitalisation seen as driving force in democratising cinema

23-November-2007
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Big Picture Conference: Digitalisation seen as driving force in democratising cinema

At the Big Picture Conference 2007, the journey of the entertainment business in India to the era of digitalisation, where interactivity in cinema has gained significant importance, was discussed at length. Eminent speakers from the world of entertainment business gave their views on the future possibilities with cinema getting digitalised, and the areas where marketing, advertising and merchandising of films became prime factors in engaging viewers. The two-day conference in Goa, which commenced on November 22, has been organised by the Confederation of India Industries (CII).

Raja Jain, CEO, Mobile2win, said that in the current era of digitalisation, information dissemination was not a problem, given the fact that convergence on multiple devices had been gaining momentum. Commenting on the constraints, Jain explained, “It is true that convergence and user-generated content have changed the way we used to operate some years back. Today, India and China are way ahead of other countries, in terms of innovation in the digital space. In such a situation, it is apparent that business models and advertising strategies are changing, with focus now shifting towards Internet and user-generated content.”

Jain also pointed several issues that needed to be addressed with the digital revolution. “Piracy is a major area of worry, and I think over a period of time and with further innovation in the digital space, we would be able to curb this problem.”

Manoj Dawane, Chief Executive officer, Mauj Telecom, emphasised on three important elements such as computing, telecommunication and media, that he thought were the driving forces in seamless distribution of entertainment content. Commenting on the future possibilities with digital technology, Dawane said, “With the digital revolution taking place in our country, I think in-film interactivity is what will gain momentum in the Indian entertainment business.”

Senthil Kumar, Director, Real Image, noted that filmmaking was an area that was lacking in the digital arena. With digital boom affecting the pattern of most businesses, films had remained an area where digitalisation had not fully taken over as an effective medium, especially in terms of distribution. He further added that though digital distribution was in a nascent stage, it could drastically reduce down distribution costs, enabling access of films to much wider audiences at one particular time.

In a panel discussion on ‘Managing Creative Processes’, speakers like Bobby Bedi, Chairman, CII National Films Committee; Sanjiv Sharma, Head, Optimystix; filmmaker Pan Nalin; and Parminder Vir, Executive Producer, World Cinema Fund, UK, shared their experiences and views on marketing, advertising and merchandising aspects of films in general.

Nalin emphasised on the need to define target audience, and then implement a marketing and distribution plan. Sharma pointed that ‘differentiation factor’ was lacking in the Indian film industry, and that it was a challenge for Indian producers and filmmakers to come up with projects that were new and exciting for a wider range of audiences across India and abroad.

Bedi too gave his views on the importance of managing creative processes. He said, “Filmmaking is a commercial art and it has to be handled creatively.” Bedi further elaborated on the importance of timing a movie appropriately to match the mood and the mindset of viewers.

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