With the setting up of the AVGC taskforce the Government has taken a significant step to develop strategic planning, says Dr S Raghunath, Professor of Strategy, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore
Digital Creative Industries, together known as the AVGC sector (Animation, VFX, Gaming, Comics, XR) has many small firms that produce higher quality content at lower cost.
With the setting up of the AVGC taskforce the Government has taken a significant step to develop strategic planning that captures talent in emerging technologies to guarantee that India is at the leading edge of the next technology frontier disrupting the media and entertainment industry. India must demonstrate that it is a fast-mover and the Indian government is keen to offer substantial support to the AVGC sector.
Given that VR production costs can be pretty steep, forward-looking policy can promote the sector through subsidies to attract VR talent from around the world. The diffusion of knowledge and talent through co-working arrangements can protect and develop India’s AVGC industry. For example, the government can subsidize companies to further develop the AVGC output and position India as the next global technological hub. Grants can be offered to support content development and investment. Thereby the government can also take an active role in investing in AR/VR immersive content.
Govt & Grants
A government backed fund can provide funding for AR and VR producers to co-produce content with local teams, offering grants that cover both development and production.
In France for example such a fund supports around 40 percent of the costs required to produce a VR film. They also offer a tax rebate of up to 30 percent of qualifying expenditures to projects wholly or partly made in France and initiated by non-French companies. According to reports, the policy appears to have been effective in supporting filmmaking in France.
The AVGC policy can give a strong incentive to develop AVGC Hubs. Co-located AVGC hubs offer distinct benefits to startups and, as a result, talent and capital might target those locations.
We are however aware that the advancement of digital media technology presents opportunities wherein digital tools can be deployed by professionals working anywhere in creating, sharing and collaborating on work and not necessarily in formal office workspaces .
While the development of virtual AVGC hubs might sound like a great idea, the relational elements of the experience of working within an AVGC hub that will be most likely lost when going virtual.
Creativity and innovation in AVCG hubs might emerge from continuous interaction between start up founders, AVGC hub managers and mentors and could turn out to be much more than just a co-location space for people to work.
Studies have emphasized the importance of social capital to technopreneurs. Social capital includes individual and collective social networks that help these AVCG entrepreneurs to gain access to information and know-how. Knowledge exchange can be expected in these AVCG hubs that could promote cooperation amongst companies and linkages between companies and academic institutions.
Another major contribution from such AVCG hubs is about promoting incubation, nurturing and developing emerging AVCG companies. The presence of angel investors and venture capitalists in these hubs can play important roles in financing, selection, collective learning and creating an innovation network.
The AVCG hubs’ digital infrastructure can help maintain relationships among the members of the hub who might not be co located and would help to expand the AVCG hub’s activity. The website and social media of the AVCG hubs can offer a space to showcase the management and hub members’ activities and to extend market reach.
As story telling and visualization are the strengths of the AVGC sector, government can utilise the technological advancements, particularly using AR/VR for image building, creating an awareness about India as an investment destination. Digital tools exist for planning, design and presentation of information but AR/VR solutions can further enrich image-building activities by giving more accurate and in-depth information about specific areas in an easily accessible and cost effective way.
Through the AVGC hubs, government can gather, store, and share a wide range of data with potential investors, including information about the economic, social, and human capital of the local economy and the business environment. Web-based immersive visualizations can be created for more engaging, understandable, data-driven stories for both foreign investors and domestic stakeholders.
Using AR/VR technology, it is possible for the government to showcase locations for attracting investments, such as industrial areas, and cultural sites. Government departments could develop virtual experiences that enable investors to explore potential investment sites from wherever they are located. The benefit of such an approach is the ability to meet the potential investors without traveling and give them as realistic an experience as possible from a distance.
Although the talent and technology in the AVGC can offer promising solutions to advance government policy and also attract foreign direct investment as well as domestic investment in multiple spheres of economic activity, there has to be commensurate awareness and understanding among government functionaries in order to take advantage of this potential.
Will & way
Government functionaries in various ministries often need fundamental appreciation of how to utilise the potential of the AVGC talent and technology to advance the goals and objectives of various government projects. The level of understanding across government departments about what these technologies are and what they can offer might differ even between individual government officers .
In order to utilise emerging technologies in the AVGC sector, the senior administrators in the government need the awareness, will, and budgets to champion and sustain AVGC enabled programmes for future growth.