Creativity, technology and right regulation will set the tone
for engaging a billion consumers in India's changing media
and entertainment landscape.
Television broadcasters need to imbibe an important mindset
change as they address diverse audiences. Says Zee Entertainment
Enterprises Ltd (Zeel) MD and CEO Punit Goenka, "The
industry has only just begun to take baby steps in the creation
of content for a diverse audience and has a long way to go.
Fragmentation of audience is the order of the day. It is time
we stop seeing ourselves as broadcasters and instead consider
ourselves as content creators and aggregators.
print publishers, under threat in the matured markets from
digital media, will have to sharpen their connect with audiences.
Says Bennett & Coleman, CEO publishing Ravi Dhariwal,
"The trick is to recognise and capture small audiences
and then retain and nurture them. For this, we have a creative
team that has the full freedom to experiment and come up with
engaging ideas and a marketing team that understands the consumers
and acts as the bridge between the creative team and the target
audience. What is really crucial is the sync between the marketing
team and the creative minds.
participating at Ficci Frames in a session on "How to
engage a billion consumers in the media and entertainment
landscape" were Disney UTV MD Studios Siddharth Roy Kapur,
Viacom 18 Media group CEO Sudhanshu Vats, Discovery Networks
Asia-Pacific senior VP and GM India Rahul Johri and Twitter
Inc head of global operations Shailesh Rao. The session was
moderated by Star India CEO Uday Shankar.
The panel discussed and debated on how a balance among the
three three pillars of creativity, technology and regulation
could lead to an effective mechanism for capitalizing on the
one billion population plus of the country. The panel also
discussed on the emergence of new media as a means of providing
a thrust to the M&E industry in terms of reach and effectiveness.
Everyone agreed though that reaching a billion consumers is
a double edged sword that presents a challenge as well as
The discussion also touched upon the fact that India is a
diverse country with various nuances to its cultural, social
and economic fabric. Is the media and entertainment industry
of the country ready to cater to an audience so diverse in
Vats optimistically said, The key to sustaining in such
a diverse environment is to sharply segment the audience and
target it. We are already doing so in many of our practices,
but we need to do it more and more in the days to come.
Vats and Goenka, however, agreed that the mega consumer trend
is fast catching on. We now see the evolution of the I
consumer that demands customised content to better suit his
individuality as opposed to the We consumer who
is satisfied with mass content. The presence of multiple screens
whether it is more than one television set at home,
or one person accessing multimedia like tablets, laptops,
smartphones etc. is here to stay. This, in fact, will
provide opportunity to reach more consumers and customise
Roy Kapoor stressed on the fact that in case of movies, it
is the creativity that has managed to increase the reach of
the cinema. He cited the example of the nineties when pan
India hits had become rarer by the day owing to the fact that
regional audiences ceased to relate to the movies anymore.
With the advent of digitsation of movies at the turn of the
century, parallel movies and hardcore commercial cinema have
begun to co-exist and, in fact, be accessed by the same consumer.
In my view, the challenege as far as cinema is concerned
is the infrastructure, or the lack of it. We are a country
that has a very low screen density and this hampers the reach
to a large extent, he said. In his opinion, the trick
is to expand the footprint and grow as an industry. He suggested
three ways to do so ensure content syndication on theatrical
and non theatrical platforms, use the smaller screen to get
content distributed and explore new markets to encourage people
to watch movies legitimately.
to Johri, localisation will drive the industry to grow exponentially
and involve a billion consumers through multiple interfaces.
Rao stressed that technology can help in increasing reach
- as is obvious when new media platforms like Twitter are
used to service the business and not for technology sake.
It is important to match the creativity of the medium
with the audience. TV and print have been Push mediums and
new media gives the opportunity to talk to the audience that
can go a long way in reaching out to more people.
The panel agreed that regulation in various media needs to
be looked at as more often than not, it has been found to
discourage the growth of the medium.
Further, Vats pointed out that the media and entertainment
industry is an essentially consumer centric arena, but business
and revenue models are still predominantly B2B. So instead
of setting the pricing according to what the market can pay,
we set the pricing according to our business model and targets,
In case of cinema, Roy Kapoor feels that capitalising on the
non theatrical platform could be a good option. The
non theatrical platform benefits from the marketing carried
out for the theatrical platform. We are still not at a stage
when movies can be exclusively carried on non theatrical platforms
as then they would miss out on the hype that those released
on theatrical platform have.
At the end of it, the panel almost unanimously believed that
while creativity and technology are proving to be boons for
the growth of the media and entertainment industry and helping
it inch towards reaching a billion consumers, the regulation
bit needs to be worked on to smoothen the process.