Asia to emerge as next hub for media & entertainment

MUMBAI: The second leg of Ficci Frames kicked off today with three stalwarts from the industry narrating the India entertainment story. Reliance Entertainment chairman and moderator for the session Amit Khanna was accompanied by producer and director Shekhar Kapur and filmmaker Farhan Akhtar to highlight the critical role of the Indian media and entertainment industry in reaching out to the world. Though our movies have travelled globally in the past, the large domestic market in India has largely restricted the industry to focus inward, which has resulted in a rather ghettoized expansion of India cinema to only reach out to the Indian diaspora, said Khanna in his opening statement.


However, another deficiency that plagues Indian cinema is in the fact that it is not being scaled up in revenue, he added.

"Concurrently we have also seen a very vibrant television market shaping up in India, that big global media giants like Disney, Newscorp and Sony have bet big on its expanding the potential.

This prompted Kapur to add that Hollywood is gradually on the decline as the buoyant Asian market is flexing its muscle so much that he foresees a situation wherein Asia‘s consumption power would grow to about 75 per cent of absolute revenue in the media and entertainment sector, thus facilitating either Mumbai or Singapore to emerge as the next media hub. Stating that entertainment is technology driven, the need of the hour would lie in the creation of intellectual capital and this resurgence of ideas would help transform this sector from performing largely back office functions, as it often does especially with respect to animation.

With respect of co-productions Kapur highlighted a word of caution against large media conglomerate funding, and what is often seen in as a Hollywood model, is standardization. Such associations although vital as they have the financial muscle and advertising power tend to take away the independence of a film maker. Therefore, he suggests that ‘particularization‘ as opposed to generalization is the way forward for the industry as he refers to these corporates as "marketing dragons that need to be fed."

Farhan shared the same sentiment, saying he now chooses to fund his productions on his own. His only co-production thus far has been with UTV for Laqshya. The large capital resources provided by behemoth corporate houses have a stretched managerial order at the organization that create decision making problems for the filmmaker and both Kapur and Akhtar agree that it strips the filmmaker of all freedom. To sum up, Kapur concluded, "The more we get separated from ownership, the less innovation occurs."


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