Wuhan TV CEO Liu Fei, was almost apologetic about the fact that
even large foreign media companies have failed to make a profit
in China. "I know it is a difficult market But you cant ignore
Beijing TV director Chen Hu pointed out that China offers lots
of opportunities for companies which are willing to look at the
medium to long term time frame. According to Odyssey Media Investment
chairman Rowan Simmons the 2008 Olympics in China are going to spark
off a media boom for Chinese media. "Already several international
companies are planning documentatries on China as a run up to the
Olympics. And these are huge budget ones. China is in for a media
He pointed out that you cannot but be in China. "1.3 billion
people, A 9.5 billion dollar TV advertising market. 190 million
C&S homes. 300 million mobile phone users. 30 million broadband
consumers. Can it get any more attractive?" He added that there
is demand for TV Dramas, Documentaries and formats in China.
However SET India vice-president Sunil Lulla stated that it is
India’s has lower C&S numbers that are making it more attractive.
"We have 250 million homes and only 40 million of them are
on cable. That is a tremendous opportunity," he elucidated.
"Today TV is a necessity. Earlier it was not so," he
added. "Anyone coming in will probably follow the following
model. At least we have historical evidence to show it., First year,
you will enter, the second year you will restructure and by the
fifth year, you will be in the black. But you need to understand
the Indian viewer.
"TV accounts for 70 per cent of the entertainment industry’s
revenues in India," Lulla opined. "But it is films that
drive international perceptions. This is ironical."
Dish TV chief Sunil Khanna pointed out that the lack of regulation
in India cannot go on forever in the area of television. "It
has been a free for all so far. But this cannot continue for long.
The Indian regulators are slow to move, but they are very sure.
In the next few weeks I expect to see a downlinking policy coming
in place, a digitization policy for cable. This will help bring
a lot more sanity in the cable and satellite business in India."
What is the ideal strategy if international companies want to get
into coproductions in India? What works? What has the experience
been so far?
SET India programming head Tarun Katial provided some insights
to this in a session on coproductions at the ATF forum here in Singapore
Shangri- La Hotel.
“You need to bring in different interest groups with different
skill sets. Indian Idol is a striking example.,” Katial said.
“We have Sony Entertainment as the broadcaster providing the platform
to showcase Indian Idol. It financed Indian Idol and
creatively led it. Miditech brought in the experience it has with
reality show. Optimystix has worked for years on studio-based format
shows. They brought in that richness.And Fremantle, which licensed
the format to us, well it has several years of knowledge creating
successful programming worldwide. They all brought different skill
sets to the table. You put them together, and you have a show like
Indian Idol which gets amazing ratings for Sony.”