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Q&A With Ficci deputy secretary Siddhartha Dasgupta

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 The clock is ticking for Ficci Frames 2002. The third edition of the two-day global convention on entertainment conducted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci), promises to be bigger and better than ever before. And indiantelevision.com is proud to be a part of it.

Two-years-old and counting is what indiantelevision is now and it is perhaps fitting that Ficci has chosen it as its online media partner.

The event, to be held on 15 and 16 March 2002, is expected to attract the top names in the entertainment industry. Several issues related to the industry are likely to be thrashed out at the mega event, to be held at the Renaissance Convention Centre, Powai, Mumbai.

The site will provide regular updates on the various highlights of the convention which include broadcasting, films, marketing, music, new media and cable and network. Ficci, which was set up to further the interests of the Indian business community, is now moving ahead to integrate the Indian economy with the global mainstream.

indiantelevision.com, the only online media service that has the privilege of being associated with Frames 2002, provides links to the Ficci site, to enable online registration for Frames 2002.

In this the first of the Ficci Frames 2002 Q&A series, Siddhartha Dasgupta, deputy secretary Ficci, gives his views on what the convention hopes to achieve.

What does Frames 2002 hope to achieve?

We have three main planks upon which we have broadly divided our focus. These are - corporatisation of the industry, technology issues and marketing of entertainment products.

Corporatisation will cover the entire gamut of financing, valuations, insurance and legal framework governing the entertainment industry and will have eminent experts both from India and abroad speaking.

It is to help in the corporatisation process that this year solicitors Amarchand Mangaldas will be presenting a report on legal issues affecting all segments of the entertainment industry. This report proposes to deal with four key issues:

i) Rationalization of entertainment tax - legal issues and way forward.

ii) Corporatisation models for the film industry and other television and radio content producers.

iii) Model guidelines for banks/financial institutions for facilitating lending to this sector.

iv) Model guidelines for executive orders for protection of IPR & structured anti-piracy campaign by the government.

On the technology side, a Digital Cinema screening of a feature film will be made on the sidelines of Frames 2002. The importance we are giving to the technology session of Frames 2002 can be garnered by the number of distinguished speakers that will be present.

As far as marketing of entertainment products is concerned, the entire gamut of the industry will be covered.

The international speakers will provide an international perspective as well as provide fresh ideas as far as the international experience is concerned.

Which are the different segments the convention has been broken down into?

Frames 2002 will be covering films, radio, audiovisual, music, events and shows.

What are the prominent aspects of the television industry that will be touched upon?

The biggest names in the industry will be touching upon a whole range of issues that concern broadcasters. The sessions specific to the TV industry are "Broadcasting, The Importance of Change", "Cable & The network: Broadbanding India", "Niche Broadcasting", "Programming for Success" and "TV News Gathering".

Is Frames 2002 likely to have an influence on the government's agenda for the entertainment industry?

Frames is one of the more important fora through which we try to influence thinking as well as policy decisions. After that we cull out the key issues while preparing our reports and this is pitched to the relevant government departments and bodies.

The third edition of the Arthur Andersen report on the entertainment industry is a significant part of that effort. The report will rank the states in terms of their investor friendliness and also focus on convergence.

How many participants are expected to be involved?

For most of the sessions we have brought in international speakers. This is so as to provide an international perspective as well as provide fresh ideas as far as the international experience is concerned.

More than 25 overseas speakers from countries such as US, UK, France Switzerland, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, UAE having confirmed their participation. Some prominent names are James Murdoch, chairman & CEO, Star Group; Dr Patrick Cross, MD, BBC Worldwide; Yoshinori Imai, director-general, NHK, Japan; William Sinrich, president & COO, IMG; Jon Kirchner, president & COO, DTS, USA; Michael Connors, Sr. V-P (Asia Pacific), Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA).

Frames is one of the more important fora through which we try to influence thinking as well as policy decisions.

How will Frames 2002 differ from similar conventions held in the past by Ficci?

The big difference this time, aside from the sheer size and scale of this year's event, is that there will be a digital screening of a film.

Is Frames 2002 likely to throw up solutions to long pending problems plaguing the Indian entertainment industry?

Well we are trying to set in motion a process of highlighting key issues and we will take it from there.

What is the Trading Hub at Frames 2002 all about?

This is essentially to facilitate the inflow of information and exchange of ideas. The trading hub is seen as a networking opportunity where several professionals would be able establish contacts, gather information concerning new technologies and development of markets, establish international co-production and possibly lay the foundation for new partnerships.

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