Policymakers need to create a single national policy for M&E sector: K Madhavan

Madhavan, The Walt Disney Company India & Star India Country Manager & President, said that regulations like New Tariff Order 1 and 2 did not address the interests of any stakeholders

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Nov 17, 2021 2:21 PM  | 4 min read
K Madhavan

The Walt Disney Company India & Star India Country Manager & President K Madhavan has said that the policymakers must create a single National Policy for the Media & Entertainment sector which is coherent, gives broad direction to the industry and brings in greater clarity for the industry and regulators alike. "With the inputs from the industry, this new National Policy could guide regulators for years to come, and ensure that the consumers, the industry and all stakeholders find certainty and clarity in equal measure.  Digital streaming has changed the global consumption pattern, and our vibrant Indian content can make a serious impact at the global level, provided we get the right support from policymakers and the regulator," Madhavan, who is also the Chairman, CII National Committee on Media & Entertainment, said this in his opening remarks at CII Big Picture Summit 2021.

Even as the broadcasters are locked in a legal battle with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Madhavan said that regulations like New Tariff Order (NTO) 1 and 2 did not address the interests of any stakeholders, including the customers. He made these remarks in the presence of TRAI Chairman Dr. PD Vaghela and MIB Secretary Apurva Chandra. "In this light, given the power and influence of our industry – it is essential that we be allowed to freely flourish with the power to self-regulate. Self-regulatory bodies for both TV and digital are working extremely well in India, and have proved that they can effectively handle complaints and concerns, without any interference from policymakers and regulators. Regulations like NTO 1 and 2 did not address the interests of any stakeholders, including the customers," Madhavan said.

At the same time, he stated that the new TRAI Chairman Dr. PD Vaghela, and his team are taking a keen interest to address the concerns of the industry on priority. "We hope to have a more proactive and positive approach from the regulator. There needs to be light-touch regulation, so as not to hold the industry back."

The Star and Disney India chief noted that 10 years back, television had started migrating customers to digital, and HD channels were just being launched. Further, there were barely 13 Million Broadband subscribers, and users spent only 8 hours a month watching videos online. "Today, we have about 800 million broadband internet users and 600 million smartphone users, and Indians watch over 5 hours of online video content a DAY compared to the global average of four hours a day. India is a digitally active country with a massive and diverse consumer base with a very high level of appetite for entertainment," he added.

He also said that the TV industry is already creating 2,500 hours of original content each year for OTT,  over and above the 100,000 hours created for Television. The gaming industry, he stated, caters to 420 Million casual gamers, even as the AVGC sector provides high-quality, cost-effective content for the global market. "We are giving consumers the power to choose what content they want, unrestricted by platform, language, schedule, or geography. Technology has allowed us to put the convenience of the consumer first, and deliver content to the consumers' various choices. The M&E industry also promotes India’s soft power across the world, in addition to directly & indirectly employing 4.5 Mn people. Ancillary industries like education, tourism, and even software are all boosted as the Creative economy grows," Madhavan pointed out.

He also highlighted that CII, working alongside the Government of India, will seek to represent India at all the Major Film Festivals in the upcoming year. "CII’s Big Pitch for the industry is: to project the power of India’s Media and Entertainment industry across the globe. After the IT sector, it is the M&E sector that has the potential to change the fortunes of a billion people through the creation of content that is unique, which has a global appeal, and which touches the hearts of people everywhere. There should be an extensive campaign to impress upon every mind that India Can Create. This slogan, this mantra can be our message to the world."

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