Live entertainment needs more government support

MUMBAI: Optimism and expectations of sustained growth of the live entertainment industry in India thrived at the session on "Live Entertainment and Shows: Engaging the audience" on the opening day of FRAMES 2003. The verdict was very clear - "It can only get better from what it is today!"

The common consensus during the course of discussions included points such as : (i) The government needs to set up the system of one window clearance for all kinds of licensing requirements; (ii) There is lacuna of infrastructure for huge live events; need for better stadiums (iii) Events have to be used innovatively to suit the marketers needs and create strong brand experiences.


The panelists on the session included Showtime Events India MD Michael Menezes, Fountainhead Events chairman Brian Tellis, Teamworks Films MD Sanjoy Roy, Publicis India Communications MD Bharat Dabholkar and the session was moderated by DNA Networks MD T Venkat Vardhan.

The session focused on the issues plaguing the event industry such as prohibitive entertainment taxes and other regulatory issues. It also advocated the need for building media brands through events.

While addressing the gathering, Showtime's Menezes said: "The government should start off by stepping in and provide stimulus which could actually help grow the live entertainment industry. Taxes need to be brought down to a real level. We also need various incentives to develop and take Indian entertainment to international levels.

Menezes pointed out that the developed countries such as the US have more than 180 "live" events every year. "Live Entertainment is a huge revenue generator globally. For the marketer it makes sense to back events because entertainment can be a powerful tool," he added.

Fountainhead's Tellis reasoned: "More brands need to step out and create experiences. Basically, we may term them as events, but actually they are experiences. The experience of a brand is ultimately what the consumer looks for.. that is what compels a consumer to buy. In a cluttered and saturated market one thing that a brand needs to do is 'behave differently'."

Tellis said that in marketing terms an event is basically a "brand bubble". "For event companies to survive and the market to grow, what needs to be done is working the other way round. We should create an event for a certain brand after understanding its communication needs rather than the conventional way of creating an event and then looking for brands to back them. Ultimately the basic purpose for doing an event is to use the event to felicitate strong emotional relations between the consumer and brand," added Tellis.

Teamworks' Roy who focused on developing the festivals culture in India said: "Internationally, festivals (whether they are film festivals or others) symbolise the place, the town or country they are held in." He cited the example of the Edinburgh festival which rakes in millions of pounds annually. "A mixture of tourism, culture, heritage should be used to develop the festival culture in India," added Roy.

Dabholkar, who is also a well-known theatre personality and has directed scores of successful plays in the past spoke on the state of theatre in India. Speaking in his inimitable style, Dabholkar had the audience in splits as he regaled the crowds with a couple of humourous anecdotes.

Dabholkar stressed on the need to "know your target group" before creating any kind of entertainment product.


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