#MediaNext 2020: Experts discuss the future of web entertainment in India

At the webinar organised by Adamas University, entertainment experts addressed media students and underscored the trends in M&E in the coming year, especially in the backdrop of COVID-19

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jun 4, 2020 3:20 PM
media next 2020

The day 3 of the #MediaNext 2020, organized by the Kolkata-based Adamas University, witnessed stalwarts from the field of short films and digital entertainment. It was an absolute enriching experience for the media students across many universities, as they listened to great minds speaking on the forum about the future of web entertainment and the impact of COVID 19 on it. 

The speakers for the day included Cyrus Dastur, a film producer and the owner of Shamiana, Asia's largest short film company; Ashish S. K, formerly associated with Reliance Big Animation and the Head of Animation Graphics cell of FICCI; Arijit Bhattacharyya, the founder & CEO of Virtualinfocom; Anjali Raina, the commercial head of Ullu Digital; Dipanjan Das, CEO of Greycells 18 Media Ltd; and Supreeth Nagaraju, the head education, digital media of India & South Asia at Adobe. 

The conclave is organized in association with Sharda University, Birla Global University, DME, AIMEC, Lok Samvad Sansthan, exchange4media, ABP Education and IndiaReal. The mega conclave is held for a period of 10 days from June 1, 2020, to June 10, 2020. Each day of the conclave focuses on one specialised domain of the Media and Entertainment (M&E) industry and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on that specific domain.

Cyrus Dastur, emphasizing on the importance of the entertainment sector, said, “More parents should inspire their children to become filmmakers and let them take work in the entertainment industry. Film-making is as serious as any other profession. Just imagine the state of our minds, if we were to enter the lockdown without any books, music and movies at our disposal. So entertainment and creativity are equally significant in our lives”.

Expressing his concern over the impact of COVID-19, he said that even if the theatres open up, there would be a huge economic crisis as they would need to practice social distancing, and all seats in a theatre cannot be filled up. “The way we consume entertainment itself will change; it pushes us towards the online space. Even the dynamics of the production will change with the shooting budgets slashed by at least 40-50%”, he added.

He also told the students that short films have the potential to be the next big thing and they are more in demand as people find their content relatable with their lives. It gives them a customised experience as they can very easily watch short films online on their mobile phones. He concluded with a note that the time ahead is going to be a struggle, but we have the power of social networking and he urged the students to keep displaying their talent on social media.

Ashish S.K expressed his concern over the current scenario with work getting postponed due to COVID-19 and repetition of animated series being telecast. But he added that the shows are doing well because most kids enjoy watching the old episodes. He said, “If you want to attract more audience to the digital platforms, one needs to concentrate only on the story. As a creator, one needs to concentrate on your story format and research, and the rest of the things would happen. Also, local content is the key.” He also stated the need for the creation of original content in India, which we would deliver to the world.

“Students willing to pursue a career in animation and gaming have a wide range of opportunities available today in NCR and other major cities of India. You need to have the necessary skills, as the work is creative and performance is very important. If you have it in you then nothing can stop you”, he added.

Arijit Bhattacharyya discussed with the students about the designing superhero characters and how he takes inspiration from mythological figures to create new gaming characters. He also talked at length about his journey redesigning the 3D Shaktiman.

“We have also created games for popularizing movies and OTT content. In the future, the demand for such content will be very high. There will be more technologies, which will come to help us create even better content, and more skilled jobs will be available”, he informed the animation aspirants.

Bhattacharyya is the founder and CEO of India's one of the first game development & virtual reality app development company since 1998. He is also the Senator of World Business Angels Investment Forum. As a mentor, he has helped several entrepreneurs realize their ideas into businesses.

Anjali Rania, the commercial head of Ullu Digital was upbeat about the future of OTT platforms. Focussing on the development experienced by OTT platform, she said, “Our country is going through a digital revolution. The average consumer’s growing affinity to a digital platform is forcing the producers to rethink the parameters of entertainment consumption, revenue generation. The media industry is expected to reach new heights by 2025. In the next five years, the digital industry and the new technologies will be on a peak.”

She too emphasised that OTT platforms today require good storylines. “Any genre of content will work on OTT platforms, but the content has to be captivating with the right twists and turns. The OTT platforms have a good future and we look forward to keep producing good content”, she said.

Dipanjan Das opined that mobile is where the future is, as it can be customized for content, which is not possible on television.

He also predicted the growth of local content. About the current trends in the digital entertainment industry, he said: “In the future, monetisation will become very high and content could be consumed anywhere, anytime on television. Also, DIY content will receive more focus. So, the three trends are consolidation, increase in local content and conglomeration of the digital and TV.”

Shedding some light on the use of Artificial Intelligence in digital space, he discussed its growth and accuracy in the coming times to capture consumer demographics. “It is also extremely important to make content available to everyone at the most affordable price”, he said.

Supreeth Nagaraju spoke about industry trends and how digital is transforming the world. He said, “Today, digital is all-pervasive and it is the responsibility of the marketer to understand the user behaviour using digital technologies and analyse the consumer experience in a holistic way.” He helps customers transform their digital businesses in this multi-screen and multichannel world by enabling them to make, manage, measure and monetize all their digital assets.

Speaking on the marketing techniques of various brands he enlightened the students about future trends in the industry. He concluded by saying that the augment industry trends will pave the way for the future.

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