It’s that time of the year again. Top professionals in the entertainment and media (E&M) industry are often careful on the appointments they have to make in the months of March or April. The reason: the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has chosen this period to organise Frames, the global convention in Asia on the business of entertainment. For seven years now, the event has brought burning issues of the E&M industry under the scanner that domain leaders and professionals -- national or international -- don’t want to miss.
In its eighth year, Frames kicks off on March 26, 2007, in Mumbai. The three-day event has once again put together some of the best E&M minds to discuss the way forward for the industry. In the last few years, Frames has been one platform where industry heavyweights and government officials have chosen to speak on some crucial industry trends and developments -- whether it was I&B officials first speaking about the revenue-sharing policy for radio in 2005 or visionaries like Subhash Chandra speaking on the take-off of DTH and CAS and their aftermath in India -- all of which are realities that the industry is dealing with today.
Continuing with its objective to bring government officials on the same platform as broadcasters, the convention would be inaugurated by Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi, Minister for Information & Broadcasting (I&B). I&B Secretary S K Arora will also address audiences at the event. He would give a special keynote address on ‘Regulatory Framework for entertainment industry’.
Some of the issues expected to be raised at the event range from the government’s decision to make mandatory the sharing of live feed by private broadcasters with pubcaster Doordarshan of events like cricket to taxation in the sector, to even the take-off of new distribution platforms like CAS and DTH.
The Italian ‘Job’
A key aspect of FICCI Frames 2007 would be the presence of Italy as a partner. HE Paolo Gentiloni Silveri, Italian Minister of Communications, is the Guest of Honour at the event and would in fact join in the inauguration of the convention.
The 80-member, high-powered film and media delegation from Italy would be led by Silveri. This also includes representatives of several Italian associations like ANICA (The Italian Film Producers Association); Filmitalia (Italian Movies Promotion Body) and Regione Lazio (The region of Rome which is located in the film industry cluster of Cinecitta) besides Confindustria. A special highlight will be the presence of Italian actor Giancarlo Giannini and Italian actress Anna Galiena.
Explaining why Italy is the ‘featured country’ this year, FICCI’s Amit Khanna (Chairman, Reliance Entertainment Pvt Ltd) said, “There is much that is already happening between Italy and India right now. In terms of availability of physical requirements like the locale, to favourable policies that allow the two countries to co-create, to even something like talent, Italy and India have a lot to offer to each other. Despite this, you don’t really see much on Italy and we think that this is a good time to change that.”
“With the kind of delegation that would be here, people can interact and you can already get the right contacts to look at Italy as a potential partner for JVs, co-productions and other such options,” added Khanna.
Frames as usual
The FICCI-PricewaterhouseCoopers Annual Report on Indian Entertainment & Media Industry is now a tradition with the two organisations releasing the report at Frames every year. Tradition continues this year as well and if the highlights of the report ‘Growth Story Unfolds’ is anything to go by, the M&E professionals have some more good numbers to look forward to.
The FICCI-Amarchand Mangaldas Entertainment Law Book will also be released at the inaugural session on March 26. A draft framework of Optical Disk Law formulated by a high-power committee under the aegis of FICCI will also be presented to the I&B Minister.
Sony Entertainment Television India is back as the Convention Partner of Frames this year too. The co-sponsor of the event is IBM and Moser Baer Entertainment will be the FICCI Living Legend Award Nite Sponsor. Other sponsors comprise Geo as co-sponsor for the TV Track; the BAF Awards sponsor is Autodesk; lunch hosts include Star Network, Zee Network and Radio Mirchi; plenary session sponsor is Radio City and co-sponsors are Media Flo and Rhythm & Hues studio; the delegate bag sponsor is Adlabs, Networking Cafeteria would be organised by INOX, Gala Nite is co-sponsor Reed Midem and Media lounge sponsor is Yahoo!.
In addition to this, the film track co-sponsor is Cinemax; session sponsor is XBOX 360; session co-sponsor is Nokia N-Series; session co-sponsors include IMAX, DLP Cinema, Graffiti, Sathyam Cinemas; and the supporting sponsors are E-CITY Ventures, Canada. The knowledge partners are PriceWaterHouseCoopers and Amarchand Mangaldas.
Said Amrita Sarkar, “FICCI Frames is our humble effort to supplement your endeavour to make the Indian Entertainment Industry the fastest growing sector of our economy. There will be a rich mix of knowledge, ideation and intellectual discourse in over 30 plenary and parallel sessions, international networking and interface with foreign experts and delegates from over 15 countries and exhilarating entertainment evenings with meals offering multiple cuisines.”
Speaking on the Frames schedule this year, she said, “We have scheduled around 35 sessions -- plenary and parallels -- covering the entire gamut of entertainment and media like Films, Co-production, Television, Radio and Music, Digital Entertainment, Animation, Gaming, Visual Effects, Financing options for media, Defending Intellectual property, Embedded Advertising and Exhibition Business.”
Delegates have already registered from 20 countries which include Australia, US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, China, South Africa, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Korea, Singapore, Pakistan, Russia, Malaysia and Kuwait.
Speakers, sessions and shindigs
The speaker list this year includes names from the global E&M industry. The event also sees government representation given the likes of Minister Dasmunsi and Italian Minister Gentiloni addressing the audience.
Some of the other speakers include Subhash Chandra, Chairman, ZEEL & Essel Group; Dr Prannoy Roy, NDTV; Shekhar Kapur, Producer and Director; Philip Graf, Deputy Chairman – OFFCOM; Manmohan Shetty, Chairman, Adlabs; Colleen Aylward, Entertainment CDO, Yahoo! USA; Paolo Ferrari, President of ANICA and President, Warner Bros Pictures, Italy; Gotham Chopra, COO, Virgin Comics and Virgin Animation, USA, and Paul Johnson, Director, Reed Midem, France.
Some other names in the speaker list includes Sunil Lulla, CEO, Times Now; G Krishnan, CEO, TV Today; Ravi Gupta, CEO, Mukta Arts; Tom Wilhite, CEO, Hyperion Pictures; Sanjeev Srivastav, India Editor, BBC Hindi Services; Charles Huang, Founder & COO, Red Octane, USA, Mark Ollila, Worldwide Director of Technology & Strategy, Games, Multimedia, Nokia amongst many others.
A feature this year is the X/ Media/ Lab which is being hosted by FICCI at the event and would bring together the world’s leading digital media practitioners and innovators in a unique creative environment that would mentor companies to improve their creative digital media ideas, get their products to market and achieve commercial success.
Some of the power-sessions on Day 1 are ‘Regulatory Framework for Entertainment Industry’; ‘Marketing and Distribution of Movies’ and ‘Financing Options and Valuation of the Entertainment Industry’. On Day 2, audiences can look forward to views on subjects like ‘Connecting India to the World: Role of Media & Entertainment’; ‘The Last Mile: Battle of reaching the Consumers’ and ‘Revenue Streams in the Converging World’.
Topics like ‘Radio - Music and Beyond’; ‘Embedded Advertising & Entertainment’; ‘Sports as a Genre of Entertainment’ and ‘Exhibition Business: Maximising total Theatre Profit’ would be brought under the scanner on the final day.
Moving beyond the business of entertainment, FICCI Frames this year offers entertainment on all three evenings. March 26 will witness the Italian Gala Nite with a piano performance by Italian pianist, composer and orchestra conductor, Maestro Nicola Piovani (1998 Oscar Winner, Best Dramatic Score for ‘La Vita e bella – Life is beautiful).
On March 27, the FICCI-BAF Awards would be presented and March 28 would be the grand finale with the presentation of the FICCI Living Legend in Entertainment Awards coupled with a performance by ASIA ELECTRIK (Sivamani, Louiz Banks, Niladri Kumar). This will be followed by a performance on Bollywood numbers choreographed by Shiamak Davar to enthrall the audiences.
Sarkar added, “FICCI BAF (Best Animated Frames Award) recognising excellence in the Animation, Gaming and VFX which began in 2004 has now grown to over 17 categories. We have received over 350 entries from 20 countries across the world. These awards shall be presented on the 27th March at FICCI Frames.”
To recognise excellence in Cinema, this year FICCI’s ‘Living Legend in Entertainment Awards’ will be presented to actors Kamal Hassan and Rekha. The presentation ceremony is on March 28.
So, ladies and gentlemen, as you read this, get set for the grand event to take-off!