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FICCI FRAMES: Broadcasting stalwarts feel it is possible to survive the digital wave

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MUMBAI: Is the past too old to be relevant in the future, and will it actually ‘perish’ if ‘change’ does not take place?

These questions were discussed by panelists at a session to discuss the formula to Survive the digital wave: Change or perish.

On the dias were The India Today Group Chairman and Editor-in-chief Aroon Purie, Discvery Asia Pacific Managing Director and President Arthur Bastings Viacom 18 group CEO Sudhhanshu Vats, Disney India MD Siddharth Roy Kapur, NDTV Group Director and CEO Vikram Chandra, and Hungama CEO Neeraj Roy, and the session was moderated by Pranjal Sharma with questions also coming from the delegates.

“The fundamental is still the same, produce quality and you will have consumers and that’s the way forward as far as I am concerned," asserted Purie.

Bastings said staying with the mood of the occurrences is a must. “We cannot only have a channel. We need to have, whatever is there in the ecosystem. Once you have everything you can decide your core business and the rest depending on the performances you can plan your investments,” he added.

During the course of the discussion, the AVOD model was questioned numerous times. Offering content for free is habit forming which might hurt the ecosystem and what is happening to TV now can happen to OTT too a few years later.

Vats, whose Viacom’s digital AVOD offering VOOT was launched recently, said: “The consumer is paying. He may not be paying me but is paying for the data. As the payment mechanism develops, bundling can happen. So to say that the consumer is not paying is actually not a correct conclusion.”

Kapur had a somewhat different point of view as compared to Vats. ‘Waiting for later’ was is not a saleable proposition for him. “We launched 500 channels and did not make consumer pay anything for it. We believe if we form a habit that consumers will later come, pay and watch, does that mean that we open a series of screens and let people walk in for free. I do not think so.”

“Yes, people are watching movies on mobile phones but that does not mean theatre screens are going away” he added

Chandra said there was room for profits and opportunities, “It is possible to monetize and it is possible to make profits. But you cannot put archival content, you need to create content exclusively for that very platform and only then will you taste success. The mindset that I will put archival content on digital is a slightly wrong mindset that the broadcasters have been following.”

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