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IT, Entertainment industries complement each other:Premji

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MUMBAI: A keynote address on the first day of Frames, the convention for the business of entertainment, was given by Wipro’s Azim Premji. He spoke about how technology benefits the entertainment industry and how they complement each other.

Wipro chairman and managing director Azim Premji and United International Pictures CEO and chairman and UK Films Council export and import chairman Stewart Till gave the keynote address at the plenary session of FICCI Frames.

“Entertainment and IT complement each other. There is convergence happening between entertainment, IT and communications industries. This is good as all three can be economic growth drivers. Entertainment has to reinvent itself. While entertainment has been about telling stories whether on film or television, the variety and quality of those stories as well as the delivery platforms will change," said Premji.

While Premji spoke on 'The coming of the ICE age,' Till spoke on how Indian films can enjoy more success around the world and how can Hollywood films increase their box office in India.

"The overseas market for Indian films is around $150 million from the 20 million NRIs abroad. Producers should be encouraged to make cross over films to cater to address people from other ethnicities," Till said.

He listed out five points that producers should keep in mind to cater to a larger audience. They are as follows:

Adopt the Chinese model, wherein films like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon were made.
Adopt the Korean and Japanese model to achieve excellence in a specific genre like horror.
Add American and European actors in the film
Improve production quality
Build close relationships with American and European companies.

"The time is right to raise your horizons to the faraway horizons," he emphasized. Elaborating on how Hollywood films can increase their box office in India¸ he said "The Hollywood movie titles should be released aggressively and the focus should be on marketing as many Hollywood titles as possible. Apart from that, producers should take advantage of the current multiplex scenario."

He concluded, "In the next decade, Indian audiences will embrace more and more American and European films and Indian producers will realize the full potential of the worldwide market."

Premji said that LPS were replaced by CDs. Colour TV sets replaced the black and white ones. In the film world, DVDs have replaced VCRs. News channels, he noted, have altered how newspapers function. "Apple's success with the iPod has shown the convergence of entertainment and IT.

Technological changes have meant that the relationship between the content creators and consumers is changing. Consumers want better stories and a better reception. Digitisation in terms of bits and bytes allows them to get a better reception and also affords more choices. The influence of technology on animation and gaming is also being felt.

"As IT and entertainment continue to complement each other, interactivity will become increasingly important. One is already seeing this in the mobile realm where viewers can participate in game shows.

Mobility is becoming important. Studio employees need to communicate with each other while they are on the move. They need to talk on script plans etc.

One problem for the entertainment industry lies in getting trained people. Premji says that they need to touch base with colleges at the final year. Said he, "They could offer courses with guranteed jobs for those who show promise. India has benefited from the animation field as it has a cost advantage vis-a-vis the US. This has helped India become an outsourcing hub."

Digitsation, he added, has helped the remastering of classics like Mughal E-Azham.

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