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Q&A with Reliance Entertainment Limited chairman Amit Khanna

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Ficci convergence committee chairman Amit Khanna believes the Indian entertainment industry is following a healthy growth curve and that piracy in the industry can be countered with better enforcement of existing laws. One of the key coordinators of Frames 2002, the national executive committee member puts forth his point his view on various matters central to the entertainment industry in the country.

What, in your opinion, is the current state of the Indian entertainment industry?

The Indian entertainment industry is growing at a healthy 30 per cent CAGR (compounded annual growth rate).Yet, there are endemic problems that are hindering it from realising its full potential: high taxes (entertainment tax, excise duties, etc), piracy and the inorganic nature of the trade.

How has it been affected by the recession?

Entertainment is usually a recession proof industry.

Is creativity being stifled in the interests of commercialisation?

No, creative people are becoming market savvy.

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

Technology, specially in broadcasting and post-production as well as audio recording has changed dramatically with the advent of digital devices. If customs duty is brought down, it will help the industry further. Also, the next few years will see convergence actually happen as bandwidth and better compression technology becomes available.

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

The industry has benefitted a lot from earlier editions of Frames. Besides policy changes which are triggered at Frames, the forum also provides an excellent platform for networking.

It is estimated that the industry as a whole loses Rs 150 crores a day on account of piracy

What do you think are the solutions to piracy in the entertainment industry?

There is nothing wrong as far as the laws are concerned. What is required is better enforcement of these laws. And for this to happen, there has to be increased cooperation between industry and the government.

How big a problem is piracy in our country?

It is estimated that the industry as a whole loses Rs 150 crore (Rs 1500 million) a day on account of piracy.

Are there any possibilities for global co-operation among entertainment industries in different countries to combat piracy, ensure stable sources of finance and address other common issues?

Yes WIPO (World Intellectual Properties Organization) is an important forum for this. Also, we are in touch with other trade bodies like the MPA (Motion Pictures Association) and the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) to combat piracy jointly.

What are the other objectives Frames 2002 hopes to achieve by providing a meeting ground for professionals from the entertainment industry?

Frames today is the only forum where the entire Indian entertainment industry gets together annually and does a reality check and a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & threats) analysis.

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