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FICCI Frames 2009: The promise of bigger & better celebrations despite slowdown

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FICCI Frames 2009: The promise of bigger & better celebrations despite slowdown

We have been saying it every year for the last five years (of the 10 that FICCI Frames is celebrating), but at the cost of repeating ourselves, FICCI Frames is the largest media and entertainment convention in Asia. Despite the many allegations hurled at the event year-on-year – same people, same subjects, just networking not learning – Frames continues to be an important event on many calendars, including that of media magnates, Bollywood rulers and the government.

This year, the convention is being held on February 17-19 in Mumbai. In this milestone year, the FICCI Frames’ core team – Yashraj Film’s Yash Chopra (Chairman), Multi Screen Media’s Kunal Dasgupta (Co-Chairman), Reliance Entertainment’s Amit Khanna, and Dr Amit Mitra (Secy-General, FICCI), amongst other members, have designed the convention to focus on strengthening the media industry, particularly in the current market scenario. FICCI Frames 2009 is expected to have nearly 2,000 Indian and 800 foreign delegates from across the world of media and entertainment. The event would be inaugurated by Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Anand Sharma.

The names at the event are as big as they can get – Anand Sharma; MIB Secretary Sushma Singh; India Today Group’s Aroon Purie; HT Media’s Shobhana Bhartia; Vir Sanghvi; TRAI Chairman Nripendra Misra; BCCL’s AP Parigi; STAR India’s Uday Shankar, and many others from home ground. The visiting dignitaries include the likes of NBC’s Co-Chairman Ben Silverman and NBCU’s Pete Smith. The list also has names from the Indian political scenario, and not to forget, the Indian film industry honchos, who have a lot more to discuss this year.

Indian cinema’s Oscar fascination is not new, right from ‘Mother India’ to ‘Lagaan’, both of which did not make it to the next level. And now with ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ sweeping the Golden Globe awards and the BAFTA awards, it has let to high hopes of sweeping the Oscars as well, though the movie is essentially British, but on life in Mumbai’s slums. As globalisation brings in crossover and mingling of cultures with the film industry also playing a critical role, there now seems to be an increasing demand for Bollywood films in the West. Statistics show that the Indian media sector is growing at a rate of 18 per cent CAGR, and the content business in India is likely to generate over $50 million in the next two years. This growth is expected to come largely from the US market.

Session under the scanner
FICCI Frames sessions will look at the various legs of the media and entertainment industry. One of the sessions at the event is on ‘The Dynamics of Cross Media Ownership’, where industry stalwarts across the media will speak on the existing media scenario, with multiplicity in stakeholders; there is no real fear of a single-player monopoly. Is there a need for additional legislation in cross media ownership or are existing laws adequate?

The last two years have seen numerous television channels come up, and some struggling for their survival. The slowdown in the global economy has encouraged, or rather forced, many companies to turn accountable, and this is when measurability comes into play. A session to watch out for will be ‘TV Ratings: Evolution of television audience measurement systems’. The session would discuss the effectiveness of the television audience measurement systems in India and has the measurement technique adapted to the changing patterns of viewership and technologies.

Radio is the next big thing to television, it is highly penetrative and does not need electricity, and neither does it have to worry about any network-related problems. The Indian radio industry is one of the fastest growing industries, and is also among the least impacted by the current economic slowdown. However, this industry has a long way to go for it to become a powerful one. The only session on radio at Frames this year will probably only show few openings in becoming a powerful medium. The session is expected to help the industry draw experiences from around the world through case studies.

‘This world is becoming digital and the future is digital’, is what many in the traditional media hate to believe. The global meltdown is seen as a boon for many in the digital medium as it is accountability and measurability that allows brands to know that their product is reaching the right audience, and the returns are expected. In the digital space, FICCI Frames will see a session on ‘Personalised Media Platforms: Widgets, user generated media, blogs and podcasts, Where does the real future of entertainment lie?’ Blogs and Social Networking sites have become the new media networks. The other session in the space would be on ‘Mobile entertainment and mobile advertising: Experiences around the World’.

Every time there has been a New Media, print has been ruled out. And now, with the entry of digital, there are same talks in the air. However, this time print is learning to bank on the new medium. The one session in print will deal with ‘Print: Emerging successful from the digital storm’, which will talk to stalwarts and find out how print has emerged triumphant despite rising competition from many media platforms.

The year 2008 saw ace shooter Abhinav Bindra create history by becoming the first Indian to win an individual Gold in the Olympics, the feat was placed 9th in ‘Time’ magazine’s Best of the Olympics. Boxer Vijender Singh and wrestler Sushil Kumar brought home a bronze each, which made them instant national heroes. The praise and prizes they received were the envy of even the cash rich cricketers.

Young Hyderabad shuttler, Saina Nehwal, made it to the quarter finals at the Beijing Games, the first Indian woman to do so. The year witnessed five Indians emerging as World Champions – Vishwanathan Anand (chess), Pankaj Advani (billiards), Gagan Narang (shooting), Saina Naiwal (badminton), and MC Mary Kom (boxing - women). Indian tennis was in the news too, and for all the right reasons, with Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza bringing home a mixed doubles title at the Australian Open 2009, while Yuki Bhambri won the junior boys’ title. Somdev Devvarman was also in news for being the first Indian to reach the finals at the Chennai Open 2009.

The topic of discussion at Frames this year in the sports category would be the ‘Role of Media in Sports: Does it really support forms other than cricket?’

Other issues
Apart from these, there are scores of other issues lined up for discussion – ‘Sensationalism versus Journalism’, which is a CEO Speak: Keynote session; ‘Does Bollywood set Lifestyle Trends?’; ‘Challenges Facing the Animation and Gaming Industry: Managing in turbulent times’; and much more.


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