A session that has experts from diverse fields like economics, media agency, technology, entertainment and research, would not be short of economic theories, figures and profound statements. The session on ‘Recession and the Entertainment Industry’, moderated by Amit Mitra, Secretary-General, FICCI, had among it panelists the likes of economist and author Swaminathan A Aiyar; Rajesh Jain, Head - Information, Communication, Entertainment, KPMG; Rajesh Sawhney, President, Reliance Entertainment; Narendra Bhandari, Director - Asia Pacific, Intel Asia Electronics; and Punitha Arumugam, CEO, Madison Media Group.
Swaminathan Aiyar spoke about the contrarian economic theories of Keynes and Von Hayek, while giving the analogy of the economic scenario with that of ‘a tyre’. According to the Keynesian theory, the current scenario is like that of a tyre that does not have enough air, and pumping in of air it (read economic stimulus by the government) will get it rolling again. According to the theory of Hayek, there is a leak in the tyre and unless it is fixed, it will not come back on track. “We are in the second scenario and need to revisit our investments to ensure that we deliver a bang for the buck invested,” he said.
Jain reiterated the themes of narrowcasting, digitisation and regionalisation as mentioned in the FICCI-KPMG report on the Indian entertainment industry, while Sawhney presented a philosophical angle to the issue and shared insights on the future course of action. “One will have to follow zero-based budgeting, revisit consumer behaviour and look out for new media options for advertising revenue,” he said. Arumugam shared the Pitch-Madison survey figures with the audience, while Bhandari underscored the opportunity of interweaving media with technology. “The media and entertainment industry is all about emotions, and that is where marketers need to be,” Bhandari said.
There was a unanimous conclusion that however bad the situation may be in the industry, India would be relatively better off than other economies in countering the slowdown.