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Q&A with UTV COO, Strategy & New Media, Biren Ghose

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Ficci Frames has established itself as a networking unit by virtue of the quality of its speakers, says Biren Ghose, Chief Operating Officer - Strategy & New Media, UTV. This is especially relevant this year where the speaker's roster on Frames 2002 reads like the Who's Who of the global media industry.

What in your opinion is the current state of the Asian entertainment industry vis a vis the global scenario? This is particularly relevant for entities like UTV Toons that compete on a global platform.

The Asian television industry is entering a phase of greater maturity and one can begin to see the emerging leaders by region, language and genre. As regards animation, the Asian markets in China and Japan are beginning to see more original content than in other parts of Asia where channel brands and loyalties are being built up with a library content (dubbed into local languages in some cases). The animation market for children/youth will see more original content emerge from Asia as Taiwan, Korea and the Philippines begin to use their animation services hub to create local regional content.

How has it been affected by the recession?

By and large, the first half of the calender year 2001 delivered the projected growth rate in most countries/categories and it was only in the last quarter of the calender year that these growth rates were affected.

How have technological advances helped the industry grow in the last decade?

The main value addition in production and distribution that has impacted quality is the advent of digital revolution. Also, besides terrestial television, satellite and cable television has substantially enlarged the reach and penetration of this medium. Finally, infrastructure for compressing, uplinking and downloading video signals will create the opportunity for interactive television.

How will a forum like Ficci Frames 2002 help the industry find solutions to the problems facing the industry?

Frames has established itself as a networking unit by virtue of the quality of its speakers. The forum is meant to present trends in film, new media, broadcasting, etc and inevitably given the quality of participation, helps unify professionals around specific causes. Eg. financing of films.

What are the other objectives Ficci Frames will achieve by providing a meeting ground for professionals from the entertainment industry?

Conferences like Frames, which is a seminar on trends, help to build bridges across different media spectra.

As far as programming is concerned, is creativity being stifled in the interests of commercialisation?

No.

The Indian soap seems to be losing a bit of its sheen. Do you see new programming paradigms surfacing?

If anything, the last year clearly demonstrates the scalability and substantial revenue supremacy that soaps have shown viz-a-viz other genres eg. News, current affairs, etc.

As far as programming concerned, is there anything new that the panelists are bringing to Frames 2002 from last year's session?

Not that I could gather from the programme.

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