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Monetisation is the biggest challenge for regional industry

The industry needs to innovate.

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MUMBAI: The growth of the regional sector in the media industry was discussed on the third day of FICCI Frames 2019. Experts from the television sector discussed on the topic ‘Regional: is it the giant waiting to be awakened?’ It had panellists Viacom18 head regional entertainment Ravish Kumar, Reliance Broadcast Network Thwink Big country head Sunil Kumaran, Discovery communication VP head of advertising sales and business head of regional cluster Vikram Tanna, Westland Publications head language publishing Minakshi Thakur, Network18 CEO languages Karan Abhishek Singh and Google industry head media and entertainment Sandeep Ramesh.

Talking about the challenges in the industry while creating the content as against monetisation, Ramesh said that the latter depends on macroeconomic conditions which are the GDP, per capita income, advertising or subscriptions coming in as a source of income.

Tanna highlighted that looking at the overall scenario of English as against regional languages, perception is bigger than performance and that will change over a period of time. “If you look at pure regional form in TV or digital, there are two markets of monetisation—one is coming in from the regional local businesses and the other is coming from the national advertisers. If you actually add the pricing of both these buckets in any medium, the indexes for regional are quite higher and the reason is that this hyper looking market can calculate ROI much better beyond a simple measurement ROI system,” he added.   

Singh chipped in and said that it is also incumbent upon them as content creators to do what it takes. “We need to create an environment where regional content formats are not seen as ‘long tail’ for media planners,” he said.

Meanwhile, an interesting observation was put across where a homogenisation culture was happening, such as the influence of Diwali, Holi and other festivals are witnessed in the Bengali culture these days, which in reality are not so famous in these cultures. Speaking about the trend, Kumar said, “These festivals are actually making the culture larger than life. Of course, there is homogenisation in these cultures, consciously or unconsciously, but it’s the desire to be larger than life because people want entertainment and we look at it very differently.”

Though Baahubali is one regional movie that has travelled internationally the question still remains as to why we can’t make more such innovative content. Kumar replied that we are lazy. He added that we are very good at learning the markets or develop from the ecosystems but not as good as putting out originality. “I would love to see Indian dramas like Turkish content and these are not just working in one market, they are working in multiple markets. We need to come up with something new and innovative and way bigger than what it is.”

A major reason why no content is created for the north-eastern part of the country is budget constraint. Kumar added, “But we can’t put the blame just on budgets. Give us four to five years to offer the content of your choice.”

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