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The new govt will recognise the opportunities for the M&E industry: Sudhanshu Vats

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The new govt will recognise the opportunities for the M&E industry: Sudhanshu Vats

Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO, Viacom18 exclusively talks to exchange4media about his expectations from the new government, specifically concerning the broadcast sector. A more robust regulation policy, deregulation of pricing, and speedy implementation of digitisation are some of the things on his wish list for a better broadcast industry in India. Vats also shares his optimism on the growth of the Media and Entertainment industry with the new government at the helm.

What are your expectations from the new government?
The Prime Minister designate has spelt out the underlying mantra of ‘less government and more governance’. The Media and Entertainment sector stands to benefit hugely in taking inspiration from this theme.

Mr Modi also brought to fore the sheer diversity of geographical and cultural wonders that India offers. As an economy, the peninsula presents a vast potential for entertainment and tourism services – both these sectors offer employment opportunities and unique prospects to showcase this variety, creatively.

At the consumer’s end, however, lies the greatest opportunity. The convergence of media, technology and telecom in the hands of the end user has potential to diametrically shift the paradigm of entertainment altogether.

What are the steps you would like to see taken for the betterment of the broadcast industry?
The regulatory policy framework in the sector can be more robust. It needs to be supported by pillars of well-defined purpose, greater clarity, accountability and foresight.

India is a plural society. Why not turn to the citizens of this diverse country and ask them what they want to consume? When it comes to content, the M&E fraternity is already committed to self-regulation.

Secondly, deregulation of pricing would play a key role, given adequate competition in the sector. At debates and forums across the past year, it has been established that there's plenty of space for everyone to play.

Speedy implementation of digitisation, carried out within the stipulated deadlines, with a focus on ‘addressability’, is the immediate task on hand.

I’m sure my colleagues in the industry would agree with me on the wish to have in place a time bound, and single window clearance mechanism.

You have maintained in the past that regulation is crippling growth of the Media and Entertainment sector, do you foresee a change in this?
Contribution of M&E to the Indian GDP is currently under 1 per cent. The same is 2.5 per cent in many other countries worldwide. This differential gap can be bridged with more liberal, prudent, and empowering regulations.

The government and PM designate have demonstrated an evolved approach in their election strategy and mandate. This government understands the changing pulse of the nation and macro-trends. We expect a similar thought process on M&E regulation as well.

The M&E sector has the capability to compete at a global level. I’m sure the new government will recognise the opportunities that lie for the Indian M&E industry to cater to not just Indians across the world, but every global citizen who seeks great entertainment and help unleash the sector’s true potential.

Our typical marketing budget is usually 10 per cent of the topline spend

There are some forces impacting the way our business works. The IT/ITeS sector has changed tremendously. Platforms like Twitter have made everyone journalists. Smartphones have made everyone a photographer. The trend that we are seeing is one of hyperdigitalization, which is causing the lines between product and services to blur. For example, <a href=

The OOH sector is among the fastest growing, globally. Brands and marketers have realized its potential and impact and begun to craft medium-specific adverts. Self-regulation is not only necessary but also essential to growth of the sector. The industry needs to exercise a certain level of this self-restraint to prove its commitment to maintaining the best standards in advertising.

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