How the industry can take the leap forward

MUMBAI: CNBC's "The Entertainment Industry: Taking The Big Leap" brainstorming session held on 19 December in Mumbai, offered several solutions to the woes of the constituents of the entertainment industry. Here, we present some views of the participants.

KPMG entertainment business head Rajesh Jain, during his presentation on the entertainment industry, called for corporatisation, rationalization of the existing unorganized film sector.

Jain also added that there might be a phase when the distributors will need to have a 'portfolio' of different films catering to different niche audiences. He mentioned that professionalism and innovative financial management could be the key elements of the theatrical distribution sector in the near future. He also envisaged the reversal to the studio system of yesteryears.

Nimbus' Harish Thawani made a valid point when he mentioned that the pilferage of revenues, a global phenomenon, implied that professionals needed to look at alternative options (revenue mapping) to multiply their revenue streams.

Thawani also emphasized that sports was the only segment that had quickly capitalised on each emerging medium and revenue stream; promotions, merchandising, broadcasts, viewership, 'live' audiences, webcasts so on and so forth. Thawani also added that the Indian film industry must follow the highly professional system perfected by the Telugu film industry.

Thawani also claimed that one needs to make small beginnings in legitimising the business of the unorganised sectors that resorted to piracy and unethical practices.

Shravan Shroff of Shringar Films added that the film industry required tighter scripting; better time management; a tighter grip on cost overruns; and productions that have a longer lifetime in terms of reruns.

Radio Mirchi (ETIL) boss A.P. Parigi mentioned that the success of the radio industry could be attributed to the FMCG approach wherein the programming was institutionalized. He mentioned that the radio channels had different executive producers for different genres. He added that the radio industry's success was based on a high level of localization of content.

UTV chairman Ronnie Screvwalla opined that the need of the hour was iexploring new genres and crossover films that catered to discerning niche audiences.

Rekha Nigam felt that a system had to be created to be able to protect the creativity of existing resources, spot and nurture new talent. She added that the creative aspect must be the soul of any content; followed by marketing and management functions.

Columbia Tristar boss Uday Singh claimed that the scripts must be 'bounced off' the distributors. He said that his global counterparts involved all the country offices of Columbia Tristar right at the script stage and were involved from the intial stages of conceptualization of a movie. "They ask for marketing and promotion plan inputs very early on and that to from every one of their offices," he said. He added that all content is created for a target audience. Therefore the distributors had to be in the loop.

Shravan Shroff seconded the view by adding that distributors have to be consulted from the initial stages of the scripting process.

TamIndia's L.V. Krishnan made a valid point that ratings don't declare popularity but the popularity drove ratings. He opined that good content was the key to better ratings. Screvwalla responded by saying that the television industry was lucky that it had the rating system to modify, correct, change and evolve content based on audience feedback. founder and CEO Anil Wanwari said that the Indian film industry could learn from the example of the French television industry which had set in place a system to export french television product globally under the aegis of Television France International with government funding thrown. The organised push international had resulted in French television programme exports touching close to 130 million Euros in the past year from zilch hardly a decade ago.

UTV's Biren Ghosh 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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