A Catalyst for India’s Global Ascendancy

By Pickle  February 12, 2024
A Catalyst for India’s Global Ascendancy, Pickle Media

The media and entertainment industry, currently valued at $26 billion, is poised for significant growth, projected to reach $35 billion by 2025. With conservative estimates suggesting a 10% growth rate, maintaining this growth trajectory could double the industry’s value, unlocking vast potential for India says Nivruti Rai, Managing Director and CEO of Invest India

It’s fascinating that India’s media and entertainment industry is valued at a staggering $26 billion. A significant portion of this revenue, about 80%, comes from television, digital media and print media. Television alone contributes about $9 billion, while digital media and online gaming contribute $10.3 billion collectively.

Over the past two decades, while the world was busy building physical infrastructure, India was focusing on digital advancements. This strategic focus has paid off, with India now boasting the cheapest data cost per GB globally, at just 13 cents, compared to the global average of $3.5. In some countries, it might reach $6 to $10. So India drove innovation through both public and private sector initiatives, as well as a large number of network competitors. And we were able to keep our data cost low.

This affordability has led to a remarkable surge in data consumption, with Indians consuming about 20 GB per month on average, significantly higher than the global average of 12 GB. In fact, India alone accounts for 25% of global data consumption.

Looking at the $26 billion revenue of the M&E industry, it’s a culmination of various sectors: television, digital media, online gaming, and print media, all contributing significantly to this staggering figure. However, what particularly excites me is the promising growth within the Animation and Visual Effects (VFX) sector.

Today, the animation and visual effects (VFX) industry stands at a remarkable $3 billion. However, just two years ago, this industry was valued at a modest $1.5 billion. Witnessing its rapid growth to over $3 billion is truly remarkable.

Looking ahead, the entire media and entertainment industry, currently valued at $26 billion, is projected to soar to $35 billion by 2025.

Let’s do a quick calculation: in just three years, we’re witnessing a jump from $26 billion to $35 billion. Even with a conservative estimate of 10% growth, the potential is evident. And as we’ve heard from reports, several sub-industries are experiencing even more robust growth rates—ranging from 16% to 35%.

Imagine the opportunities that lie ahead. By 2030, if we maintain a modest growth rate of 10%, we will have more than doubled the industry’s current value. This presents a significant opportunity for growth and innovation.

It’s remarkable to note that out of our nation’s vast workforce of 500 million, approximately 10% are skilled in software development, totaling around 5 million individuals. However, when it comes to gaming, the numbers are significantly smaller, with only 20,000 developers.

Despite this gap, there are immense opportunities, especially considering that gaming heavily relieson software running on sophisticated hardware. During my tenure at Invest India over the past four and a half to five months, I’ve been focused on advancing AI accelerators, graphics technology, computing capabilities, and platforms to empower software development for gaming.

The potential for growth is evident when you consider the vast number of software developers.

Additionally, it’s essential to recognize our contributions to the global audio-video services market. We currently account for 2% of this industry, with export figures reaching around 800 million in recent years. Similarly, in the animation and visual effects sector, our contributions stand at an impressive 10%.

The dream I envision for our nation is one where we harness the potential of our vast population, which constitutes 20% of the world’s people. This means leveraging data, artificial intelligence (AI), stunning graphics, and captivating animation.

My dream is for our exports to reflect this ambition, aiming for a significant share of at least 20% in global markets. While achieving 10% or even 2% is commendable, aiming higher is crucial.

Imagine the impact of our 5 million software developers, who have already established India as a global hub for software expertise. With the Centers of Excellence (COEs) that we are establishing across our nation, we’re nurturing talent and fostering innovation. It fills me with pride to hear about the remarkable progress in states like Karnataka, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Sikhim and others, with each region contributing unique strengths to our collective success.

With 5 million software developers, we have the potential to cement India’s reputation as a software powerhouse, shaping the world’s technological landscape. Imagine the transformative power of COEs in driving innovation, supported by robust digital infrastructure and skilled workforce.

Consider the impact of reducing data costs to 13 cents, while the rest of the world pays significantly more. This affordability unlocks boundless opportunities, particularly in the gaming industry. However, achieving this requires our exceptional software developers, compelling content, captivating stories, and inspirational heroes to drive our narrative forward.

Our history spans an impressive 3000 years, with evidence suggesting even older roots stretching back 5000 to 7000 years. While much of this history may not be extensively documented, we have ample proof of 7000 years of rich cultural heritage, including tales of historical heroes and awe-inspiring architecture.

Indeed, we possess a wealth of content and stories waiting to be shared with the world. Drawing inspiration from epics like the Mahabharata and Ramayana, our stories have the potential to resonate globally, captivating audiences far and wide.

However, it’s perplexing to see our own beloved characters are overlooked while counterparts from other cultures gain international acclaim. This raises the question: why focus solely on the back end? We have a treasure trove of ideas and concepts waiting to be brought to life.

I envision India taking center stage in the gaming industry. But to realize this vision, we need a supportive government— one that nurtures and empowers its citizens to reach their full potential. I see the government’s role akin to that of a mother, clearing obstacles from her children’s paths so they can ascend to great heights.

It’s astounding to note that India leads the charge in gaming consumption, utilizing 90% of its devices for gaming and digital content consumption, compared to the global average of 50%. This presents a significant opportunity for us to drive hardware and software innovations and collaborate on policy frameworks to further bolster this burgeoning industry.

India’s youthful vigor is poised to take the lead in shaping the digital gaming landscape and adding value to this imaginary world. I firmly believe that this is a low-hanging fruit. Gaming isn’t just about entertainment—it’s also a powerful tool for education. Drawing from my experience in the tech industry, I’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative impact of gaming-based AI education programs. We’ve trained millions of individuals, and the potential for further growth and impact is immense.

Looking ahead, I see opportunities for tourism and education to benefit from the gaming industry. It’s about leveraging this platform not only for leisure but also for learning and exploration. Together, let’s harness the power of gaming to enrich lives and propel India forward into a brighter future.

As Invest India, the nation’s Investment Promotion Agency, we are committed to partnering with states to pave the way for India to become the front end of the gaming industry. Together, let’s shine brightly on the global stage and showcase the incredible talent and creativity our nation has to offer.

(Nivruti Rai, MD & CEO Invest India, shared her vision in a keynote address at the inauguration of Bengaluru GAFX 2024)

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