The post lunch session of the first day of the 3rd Annual Entertainment and Marketing Forum – EM2 – saw industry bigwigs discussing on topics like Digital Entertainment, retail and home entertainment, growing mobile markets and print and radio media.
Yahoo India’s Country Manager, Neville Taraporewala; Tata Sky MD, Vikram Kaushik; Microsoft’s Gaming Head, Mohit Anand; exchange4media’s MD, Anurag Batra; and Indiantelevision.com’s CEO, Anil Wanvari, came together to discuss ‘Digital Entertainment’.
Kaushik said, “Due to lack of choice, lack of special interest channels and poor and inconsistent quality and service experienced by the consumers, and other problems like piracy and dependence on advertisements for revenue for the broadcasters, Direct to Home (DTH) television is likely to emerge the winner among all pay TV technologies.”
Stressing on the importance of the Internet in the digital entertainment sphere, Wanvari said, “Trends are clear. We need to learn from our Hollywood cousins, where Fox had the promos of movies like ‘X-Men 3’ and shows like ‘American Idol’ on the Internet through Myspace.com, Netflix.com.”
Commenting on the gaming industry’s growth, Anand said, “From the 80s’ Pacman to the 2001 Microsoft X-Box, gaming has come a long way. Today an estimated 1.6 million gamers play for more than two hours per day.”
Batra observed, “Broadband penetration is high in the European and American markets and it is increasing in India, too. Nowadays, commercials appear on IPTVs even before they can be seen on television. It won’t be long before a situation where there would be no media planner, just a digital planner because consumer wants content anywhere, anytime.”
“Since price is not a worry when people indulge, there is a big opportunity for entrepreneurs. So, I would advise young people to become entrepreneurs,” he added.
The next session was on Retail and Home Entertainment, chaired by Pantaloon President, Sanjeev Agarwal, with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Country Manager, N Muthuram and Sweta Agnihotri, VP and Head Films, as panellists.
Opening the session, Agarwal said, “Retail attracts 30 per cent of the urban population. It is important to talk to the consumers at home through loyalty programmes or mailers, and outside through flagpoles and store facades or may be inside the stores and malls by branding.”
He cited the example of Pantaloons’ tie-up with the Hrithik Roshan starrer ‘Krrish’, under which the stores gave a lot of visibility to the film, gave away products in ‘Krrish’ carrybags and also sold ‘Krrish’ merchandise at 40 theatres.
Talking about how brands could use retail, Muthuram cited the examples of ‘Spiderman’ having DVDs in packs of ACT II popcorn, or ‘Termintaor 3’ tying up with Sony to highlight how marriages between two products could provide added revenue and presence in consumer markets.
Neeraj Roy, CEO, Hungama Mobile; Nikhil Jain, Chief Technology Advisor, Qualcomm; and Naveen Chopra, Corporate VP, Group Marketing, Hutchisson Essar discussed on the growth of the mobile market and why it was necessary to partner with the content industry for growth.
The final session for the day was Print and Radio, with Anish Trivedi, Chairman and MD Banyan Tree chairing the discussion. Bhaskar Das, Executive President, Times Group; Tarun Katial, COO, Adlabs Radio; and Bharat Kapadia Executive Director, Divya Bhaskar were the panellists. The speakers put forth their views on how print and radio inherently need to be entertaining to succeed. Talking about the role of entertainment, Trivedi said, “The consumer will read what he wants to read, hear what he wants to hear and watch what he wants to watch. We are in the business because we entertain. The film industry has realised it, and we are just beginning to understand ourselves.”
Das remarked, “Entertainment is the new mantra. Every business is an entertainment business. The thin line between brands and celebrities is fast disappearing because successful business need star brands to attract consumers.”
Katial pointed out that radio was fast catching up with other media mainly due to changing delivery platforms, technological breakthroughs and favourable regulatory initiatives.
According to Kapadia, “Print had become a good old housewife. Television is like a girlfriend, but it had some limitations. So, print has adapted to changes and now offers 360-degree solutions through coverage, the Internet, radio, ground events, contests and outdoors. The old housewife has changed itself now!”