Ficci Frames 2022: Experts discuss the evolving trends in M&E across segments

Leading marketers discuss the consumption patterns in the M&E industry.

Mumbai: The media and entertainment industries have evolved over the years, and post-pandemic growth has been shared across segments.

In a recently organised session on ‘M&E Consumption: Evolving Trends Across Segments’ at Ficci Frames 2022 discussed how media has evolved and new emerging trends are helping or affecting business. The panel discussion was moderated by EY LLP media and entertainment advisory services partner Ashish Pherwani.

The expert panellist included Viacom18 youth, music and English entertainment head Anshul Ailawadi, International Media Acq (IMAC) CEO Shibasish Sarkar, Indian music industry president & CEO Blaise Fernandes, Pocket Aces CEO & co-founder Aditi Shrivastava and Amazon Prime Video head & SVoD business head Sushant Sreeram. 

Starting the discussion, Anshul Ailawadi shared insights on how MTV has reached every corner of the country and helped youth have an audiovisual experience. 

"There are two specific needs: the discovery of the channel and an audio-visual experience, and we try to give them to the audience." He also expressed that each platform has its unique role.

Shibasish Sarkar shared, "We have seen a substantial amount of growth in digital consumption. This discussion happens whenever there is a new emerging medium, and will it end the cinema? But it has survived, and even after a pandemic, people are watching movies in theatres." 

He further added that in these two years, there has been a substantial level of quality content consumption that has happened by the audience across all video platforms.

"Today, Hindi language consumers have been consuming the best of Korean, Tamil, Telugu, and Spanish language content, so the consumer's expectation for good quality content is higher," he said.

"Storytelling does not necessarily always need to be expensive. He added that it has to be in touch with the audience with the thought, "What will the audience like?"

Blaise Fernandes expressed that music is not regional anymore and any music can be consumed in any part of the world; creators just need to choose the right platform.

When talking about user-generated content, Aditi expressed that "audience is a god, content is a king, and distribution is a queen."

Audiences are starting to understand the business of content. And that is opening up possibilities for creators and platforms.

She said, "Earlier, audience creation was restricted to putting something out. They're trying to become obsessed, and some of them are becoming influencers. Brands are ditching celebrities and collaborating with digital influencers and micro-influencers to promote the product."

"UGC is going to move in the direction where people will buy things and make money based on content," she added.

She believes 80 per cent of big influencers and 20 per cent of small influencers will be in the ratio. "You will see digital avatars are beginning to participate in metaverse concerts," she said.

Anshul, agreeing with Aditi, said, "New monetisation opportunities, new sorts of avenues, and new platforms will emerge in coming years."

Sushant Sreeram talked about content on Amazon Prime where he said, "We programme to an extremely heterogeneous customer expectation across languages, across accessibility, across price points, and across an infrastructure and streaming simplicity."

He further added, "We absolutely continue to explore all forms of collaboration. In our journey over the last six years, we have explored a variety of models to work with producers, studios, and theatres."

While discussing TV vs OTT, Aditi expressed that it's important to define because TV is just a device now and its content is consumed on mobile phones as well. Anshul talked about how the audience has done demarcation between OTT, TV, social media, and their functions.

Aditi further talked about how her company is focusing more on short formats and engagement with the audience rather than how many views they have got.

"We would like to see content increase across platforms. We would like to be a content provider. Now we are working on engagement. Distribution is very important. But it's also very expensive to build. The way we are building distribution is by having channels across platforms. We have put out content that our marketing spend and we believe in organic growth."

While talking about price and content, Shibasish expressed that the audience won’t pay if they don't like the content. He believes that good content will make audiences pay irrespective of the medium, and that all mediums will co-exist if they serve good quality content.

Sushant agreed with Shibasish and talked about how international content on Amazon Prime is consumed not only by the Indian diaspora but also by natives of those countries because of quality content.

Sushant suggested three things to keep in mind: customer delivery, collaboration with creators, and empowering the creative economy. Aditi advised to drop the elitism when it comes to content, Shibasish asked creators to understand the audience, Blaise stressed that only subscriptions could help creators  while Anshul emphasised how audiences can hate or love but can't ignore creators.

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