Industry's in trouble, but there's hope

MUMBAI: CNBC?s "The Entertainment Industry: Taking The Big Leap" brainstorming session held on 19 December in Mumbai, resulted in a lot of soul-searching amongst industry experts and heated debates involving the reasons for 2002 being billed as the year of ?no-show? business.

The interactive session was aimed at generating interest in CNBC?s new programme That?s Entertainment. The programme is targeted at the ?behind-the-scenes? happenings and the economics (should we say hard-hit) of the Rs 15 billion media industry.

The panel on the dais had CNBC Mumbai bureau chief Govindraj Ethiraj and his colleague Anuradha Sengupta moderating the discussion and inviting comments from an illustrious gathering comprising of SET India CEO Kunal Dasgupta, IDBI chairman and MD P P Vora, Reliance Entertainment chairman All India Film Producers? Council president Amit Khanna, UTV chairman Ronnie Screvwalla, ENIL MD A P Parigi, Shringar Films? director Shravan Shroff and Nimbus Communication chairman and MD Harish Thawani.

The leaders in the business of entertainment rubbed shoulders with entertainment analysts, celebrities and superstars as the CNBC team sought insights and understanding on what makes the industry tick.

The audience comprised of an illustrious gathering of people from various fields such as the film industry?s producers, distributors, financiers; the TV producers, programmers, actors; radio and music industry head-honchos; and the media. Offering their views were film directors and producers Ramesh Sippy, Mukesh Bhatt and Manoj Desai; actor-producer Shekhar Suman; UTV COO of animation Biren Ghose; Saregama vice president Atul Churamani; TAM India CEO L.V Krishnan; TV programming executives Rekha Nigam and Nupur Asthana; and Anil Wanvari.

KPMG executive director Rajesh Jain kicked off the proceedings with a presentation on the mechanics of the entertainment industry.

There were contrasting views offered by the panelists and the members of the audience on several issues: whether the Indian film industry scene was as bad as was perceived; whether the Hindi film industry deserves the attention it gets; whether creativity was being killed by money-minded producers; whether the content creators were in sync with the audience preferences; piracy and pilferage; the alternative streams of entertainments such as gaming, animation, live entertainment and home videos.

Finally UTV?s Biren Ghose summed up the feelings by saying that the entertainment industry must give adequate importance to the four key elements of the entertainment industry: the structural capital, the human capital, the intellectual capital and the customer capital.

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