Television

Enter Media 2001 ends; industry fears overregulation in new convergence bill

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The The convergence bill may be a long way away but it was very much on the radar screen as the two-day Enter Media 2001 conference organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in Mumbai ended today.

The point was forcefully made in the penultimate as well as the last session of the conference which dealt with the print media and the regulatory environment respectively. Speakers representing the print media decried the government's plans to introduce a far more overarching media council to replace the existing Press Council of India. The last session dealing specifically with "governance for the media and entertainment industry" ended with a common consensus that the industry must safeguard its own interests and needed self-regulatory mechanisms put in place. It was agreed that education on the issues involved was critical and that there was a need for an arbitration body which would be able to centralise agreements under one forum.

Chairman the conference task force, Biren Ghose, CEO of UTV Interactive, summed up issues which had a realistic chance of resolution if an organised effort was initiated. These would be included in the white paper to be produced by CII in conjunction with Ernst and Young within a month. That all these issues would be addressed within a time frame of 12 months is what is being promised.

FILMS: 1) Curbing piracy and enforcement. 2) Need for corporatisation of the industry. 3) Nurturing of film professionals - first assistant directors and scriptwriters.

TELEVISION AND BROADCASTING: 1) Addressability - Crucial both on the revenue front as well as enabling proper assessments of connectivity and related issues. 2) Subscriber rates have to go up if the industry was to launch itself into the next phase of growth. 3) Current television ratings systems need to acquire greater credibility as to how representative they are of actual channel and programme penetration.

FM RADIO: 1) Privatisation should continue. 2) Licence fees too high. 3) More FDI (foreign direct investment) inflows needed. MUSIC: All round appreciation for the way the industry has organised itself to curb piracy. Attempt should be to scale up the IMI (Indian Music Industry) model across the entertainment industry.

CONTENT: Build Indian services / content across global markets.

INTERNET AND BROADBAND: 1) Bandwidth issues are best left to the government or at best big corporates. 2) How to use the Internet as a transaction currency. 3) Spread cyber cafes the way STD booths have spread across the country. 4) Work on anti-piracy models for the Net.

FINANCING: 1) Look at a model of a risk reduction formula. 2) Corporatisation 3) Limited partnerships

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