Convergence, animation, gaming to receive special attention at FICCI Frames 2004

MUMBAI: Convergence, animation and entertainment will receive special focus at the fourth edition of the Federation of Indian Chambers, Commerce & Industry's (Ficci) convention for the entertainment industry - Frames 2004 - in March this year.


This time, there will be 15 sessions instead of the 23 that marked last year's event, as feedback from the attendees indicated that the proceedings were too exhaustive to absorb, according to Ficci entertainment committee chairman Yash Chopra. Addressing a media briefing here this afternoon, Chopra said that at any point of time, there will be a maximum of three sessions. Sometimes, there could be just two. Last year, there were as many as five sessions running simultaneously.

Since convergence is a major theme, on 17 March, Reliance Industries chairman and MD, Mukesh Ambani will deliver a presentation on the entertainment opportunities and challenges in the digital age.

Ficci entertainment committee co-chairman and SET India CEO Kunal Dasgupta pointed out that convergence was increasingly becoming a reality. These days broadcasters, mobile phone operators and cable companies are all turning towards making and distributing content, he said. One session will deal with improving the return on investment (ROI) for TV channels. The catchphrase for this session is '' If programmes were brands, would Kotler need to be rewritten?'

Turner Intl Asia Pacific president, MD Steve Marcopoto will deliver the keynote address. Other speakers include BBC World's director Jonathan Howlett, SET's executive VP Sunil Lulla and NDTV Media CEO Raj Nayak. Today the need for tracking viewers' mindsets to arrive at the proper balance between content and marketing is growing. The speakers will talk about the marketing mechanisms used to push new content to entice viewers away from rivals.

Given the continuing CAS imbroglio, an important session on 17 march will deal with the question Addressability Where Do We Go From Here? CNN's Andrew Stevens will host the discussion which will feature Reliance Entertainment chairman Amit Khanna , SET Discovery president Shantonu Aditya among others.

Another side to television is how the ad agencies use the medium to ensure greater ROI for their clients. CNBC India corporate editor Govindraj Ethiraj will host the session which will see speakers like O&M chairman Piyush Pandey and Group M South Asia CEO Andre Nair. The session will look at how local brands have taken advantage of television as well as what innovative media strategies global companies have done to make sure that their brands are more desirable.

Animation as an industry is taking off in India. The question is what opportunities exist for Indian companies to move up in the value chain and avoid working as mere sweatshops. This is one of the key issues Frames will seek to address with three animation sessions. The first one looks at co-production and production values from India as well as the kind of output expected from us. The issue is whether we can develop strong local and international properties for our market and abroad while maintaining the international level.

The speakers include Jadoo Works CEO Ashish Kulkarni, Turner Intl original programming VP Susan Simensky and Red Kite Productions MD Ken Anderson. Another session will look at the quality of work that broadcasters like Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network expect from production houses. The third session titled Walk The Talk will scrutinise the relationship between animation and IT. Could the next Pixar come from an Indian IT major?

Frames' involvement with animation will go beyond just seminars. It has instituted the Best Animated Ficci Frames Awards (BAFF). The aim is to set new benchmarks for our animation industry.

Gaming is an area that is expected to see a major boom in the coming years. Indian software companies are beginning to bag contracts to create games for foreign media conglomerates. Electronic Arts president Jon Niermann will deliver the keynote address. His company sees tremendous potential for growth of the gaming industry in India for MNCs.

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