The business of distribution came up for some intense scrutiny on the concluding day of the two-day FICCI Media & Entertainment Business Conclave (MEBC), held in Hyderabad on December 1-2, 2010 in the session on ‘The business of distribution: maximising multiplatform distribution strategies for TV’. Paritosh Joshi, CEO, Star CJ, moderated the panel, which included Ashok Mansukani, Director, Indusind Media & Communications Ltd; Siddharth Jain, VP & Deputy GM, Distribution & Business Operations, South Asia, Turner International Pvt Ltd; Ajai Puri, Director & CEO, Bharati Telemedia Ltd; and Martin Mulligan, Sales and Marketing, Quantel.
Paritosh Joshi threw the floor open to the panel by noting that the viewers got a indifferent signal, had no control on their choice and what to pay, so did that mean a dark picture for the great Indian distribution story?
Ashok Mansukani pointed out that whenever there had been road maps created for distribution, there had been roadblocks, and for this, everyone who was part of the television industry was responsible. He said, “I think the nirvana in the post-CAS era will gradually come through digitisation, where the broadcaster does not have price control and the audience has a choice to pay for what he wants to watch.”
He emphatically said, “I believe that the problem cannot be resolved in the courts of law, but everybody associated with the industry – be it content creator, broadcaster, distributor and others – have to find a way out together.”
Siddharth Jain, too, felt that all were guilty of not uniting and taking the industry forward. He added, “We want to create compelling content that can be watched on a diverse platform as today the consumer is not coming by appointment and wants the content available on multi-platform. That’s the silver lining for the broadcaster and the industry should take this forward.”
Ajai Puri of Bharti Telemedia Ltd talked about DTH and its capability to reach via both wire and wireless. He said, “The industry needs to have a long term view, and digitalisation and transparency is the way to go forward. The growing DTH numbers is a blessing in disguise, but everyone is seeing DTH as a hen that lays the golden eggs. We need to have a long term view, which, I believe, is not very far and will take the consumers beyond the ‘idiot box’.”
Ramki looked at the crucial aspect of the kind of content that consumers were seeking from various interactive devices. He made a case for the huge collateral opportunity that was lying and for content that could be packaged for viable monetisation.
The session can be summed aptly in these words – the need for attractive content at compelling cost and compelling content at attractive cost.
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