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India The Entertainment Hub of the 21st Century

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Hyderabad based Suresh Productions Pvt Ltd's Ram Mohan spoke about the need for upgrades in technology and personnel in India in the entertainment industry. Other issues discussed by him were cost advantages for production in India as studios, labs and technicians were available at very competitive costs as compared to costs elsewhere in the world.

Levies and duties on equipment needed rationalisation and lowering, a more efficient legal structure needed to be put in place and higher wages to technicans, were some of the other issues which had to be handled to make more filmmakers from all over the world to come to India for production, mohan said.

Amitabh Kumar, director (Corporate) Zee TV, highlighted the fact that it was India that had the potential to become the uplinking hub for south East Asia if duties were reduced, and facilities like teleports and media cities were introduced.

India had only a $ 2.6 billion piece of the $ 500 billion worldwide pie in the entertainment Industry, Kumar said. From 1998 the I-T industry has left the media industry far behind in terms of growth, he said (not true this year anyway as according to the Arthur Anderson on the Indian entertainment industry released at Frames 2002, this year the growth of . India had eight major satellites offering 140 channels out of which more than 80 per cent was broadcast offshore and more than 90 per cent of the transponders were based abroad. In India the cost of broadcating was Rs 7 lakhs per channel while in Singapore the same could be done at only Rs 2.5 lakhs almost a 3:1 ratio difference. All the Indian broadcasters used foreign facilities, and if this was to be done in India art least Rs 6 million could be saved, besides which there would be an increased advertisement revenue as local advertising would increase, Kumar said.

The need of the hour for the Indian industry was an online ability to buy space on any satellite anywhere , even online brokering should be introduced, besides introducing Indian based uplinking facilities .

AK Mahadevan Sr V-P, Crest Communications Ltd, highlighted the advances made by India in animation. A number of foreign were turning to India to outsource their content due to the low production cost and high quality work done in India today. He proved his point by showing short clips of two animation series Ollie Under The Sea and Tales of Piggedly Winks produced by them for US-based Mike Young Productions.

Atul Kumar Rai, director (LC) DDA, spoke about the new media park being set up in Delhi. Spread over an area of 40 acres, the first round of tendering for allotments was just being undertaken, Rai said.

Ramesh Meer from FX factory spoke about the advances made by India in the field of creation of special effects. According to Meer, today a two-member team can visit a location abroad and all effects and actors can be superimposed, substantially lowering production costs.

Vinay Panda from D2C spoke about the potential of India to become a major entertainment center and the strategies required to achieve this target Some of the requirements as per him were introduction of teleports, fast speed internet, Fostering of enterprenuership and changes in lending institutions policies specially for investing in media.

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