At 28-30% growth, Indian events industry could reach $10 billion in a 10 year horizon: Sudhanshu Vats

At the eighth edition of EEMAX Global Conclave Sudhanshu Vats, talks on ‘A look into the Future: Experiences in a Connected World. Technology, Infrastructure, Consumer engagement, emerging paradigm’

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Oct 19, 2016 8:12 AM
At 28-30% growth, Indian events industry could reach $10 billion in a 10 year horizon: Sudhanshu Vats

The Event and Entertainment Management Association (EEMA), India’ apex body of the events and experiential marketing industry hosted its eighth edition of EEMAX Global Conclave & Awards. At the event Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO, Viacom18 Media, was invited to speak on ‘A look into the future: Experiences in a Connected World. Technology, Infrastructure, Consumer engagement, emerging paradigm.’

He started with how he thinks of the events industry as a ‘sunrise industry’ and moved on its size. He put a number, “Indian (events) industry just turned Rs 5,800 crore to be precise (excluding price of rights). Sabbas Joseph quoted sometime back the size of New York’s event and entertainment industry which is close to $10-12 billion.  This included certain ecosystem number. Having said that the disparity is high still.”

Then he asked the important question, “What do we need to do?”

“My view is that at 28-30 per cent growth, we could reach $10 billion in a 10 year horizon. It’s important because I think this is going to remain an industry which will grow fast.  I want to make mention of four key areas where we can make an intervention if at all we aspire to reach $5-10 billion.”

He started his first point with technology, “Within that there’s VR (virtual reality).  It’s at that tipping point and will go mainstream. If that happens, this phenomena will dial up the industry to a whole different level. VR headsets are becoming affordable. The trial pieces are as inexpensive as Rs 200. VR headset, in my opinion, is largely taken care of. Then the smartphones are getting affordable and have more features, thanks to India and China. The third key piece for VR to go mainstream is data, both the data speed and data price. These are driven by 4G which is spearheaded by Jio. So with that coming around both data speed and data price are taken care of. With all of these in place, VR will go mainstream. This means if you do an event at one place, you could have 1000 or 100,000s’ experiencing it absolutely live. You dial up experiential entertainment to a different level. That’s just round the corner. It will happen. I am a fan of VR as well as AR (Augmented Reality). But the scope of latter is slightly less limited than VR. But then again it’s an important piece when it comes to live pieces. In some of the reality areas in TV there is room for AR.”

He further added, “It is analytics drives ROI but data drives ROI. One of the key issues which has already been there with events within media and entertainment is the measurability of it. Can you measure it especially the advertisers?  Advertising pie is growing. It’s close to Rs 55,000-60,000 crore across all mediums. But the events’ ability to get a substantial part of this pie is limited. That’s because of the measurability and the scale of the piece. In future with events, technology and social platforms and with the ability to put this data together the proposition (which we could have) for advertisers as we move forward is hugely compelling and the premiums they could command will be phenomenal.”

Block-chain technology ‘which is being talked about in the financial world’ turns out to be his third piece. He confesses that it’s futuristic ‘but also around the corner.’ He explained how it is important to events, “My assessment is this technology will give a great opportunity for live events once again because block chain technology will enable artists much more. It can do is smart programming. It means when the person is performing you are able to do real time transmission of some of this piece along with encryption. The key is if you can get encryption going there real time. This is not really far, around five years away in my assessment. It also empowers the artist to a very large extent and takes away the role of intermediaries. Live business will always bring artistes together. An artist’s ability to get discovered and reach out to his/her target audience will get dialled up considerably. This technology has far reaching and arguably big thing coming up for us.”

Lastly, he mentioned, “The fourth piece is the physical infrastructure in a country like India which can bring in global audiences. India does one of the biggest events. Look at Kumbh Mela. It’s an event which has the largest aggregation of human kind anywhere in the planet. The physical infrastructure with the ease of doing business should come together. There are so many events in India which have a large global curiosity and global audience available. Their ability to come here would be determined by physical infrastructure which will take time. But the good news is government is already working on roads and airports, amongst others. These things also need to get dialled up. This is a 10 year horizon.”

Interestingly enough, he linked all the four points to tourism, “Media and entertainment as an industry per se on its own may look small in numbers. But the multiplier ability of media and entertainment as an industry and events particularly within that and its ability to dial up tourism are extremely high. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind along with tourism we could definitely get these billions and maybe more.  If we get these four key pieces in place we would be able to get this done.”

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