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What is the Future of Indian Media Sector

admin   May 5, 2021

All hopes are not lost at a time when the world in general and M&E industry in particular is facing a tough time due to COVID-19. For, a future outlook, part of the FICCI-EY report of March 2021 titled ‘Playing By New Rules’, says the sector to rebound in 2021 and double to around Rs 2.68 trillion by 2025

Path To Recovery

The report said while it expects the M&E sector to rebound in 2021 and double to around Rs 2.68 trillion by 2025, the recovery of various segments will vary. “We expect that different segments will take different periods of time to regain their 2019 (pre-pandemic) revenue numbers.” Assuming no further setbacks, it will take one to two years for TV, film, music, two to three years for animation and VFX, events and beyond three years for print, radio, OOH.

Medium Agnostic

Given that video, audio, text and experiences are available across almost all segments, the M&E sector is redefining itself across these 4 verticals: Video – TV, video OTT; Experiential – Online gaming, cinemas, events, OOH; Textual – print, online news; Audio – radio, music, audio OTT.

Visual Trends

Premium consumers (comprising Digital only and tactical digital) will cross 100 million by 2023. The fastest growing segment will be the bundled digital consumer, growing to 399 million by 2023. The free consumer base will also grow as progress continues to spread amongst the 50 million homes today which do not have access to television.

Smart Screens

Smart connected TVs will exceed 40 million by 2025, thereby ending the monopoly of broadcasters on the large screen and leading to around 30% of content consumed on large screens to be social, gaming, digital, etc.

Billion Count

Screen count will almost double to near a billion by 2025, of which around 220 million would be television screens and over 750 million would be smartphone screens. This could lead to a massive increase in content creation (news and entertainment) from the around 170,000 currently to over 250,000 hours, as personal consumption (as opposed to group consumption) increases to over 50% of total video time, across a wider set of genres and niche content types.

Regional Consumption

The share of regional content will increase to 60% of television consumption in 2025 from around 55%1 in 2020 and will increase to around 50% of OTT consumption from 30% in 2019. The need for dubbing, titling, formatting, etc. services to make content mobile will increase.

Online Gaming

Online gaming will continue to grow and reach 500 million gamers by 2025 to become the third largest segment of the Indian M&E sector. The segment will grow across all its verticals viz, esports, fantasy sport, casual gaming and other games of skill, but revenue growth will be led by mobile-based real-money gaming applications across these verticals.

Split In Cinema Audience

While cinemas today largely cater to 100 million Indians, mostly top-end audiences, they will now begin to go deeper into India to cater to a wider audience base. Cinemas will continue to cater to top end multiplex audiences who watch movies for their spectacular experience and to enjoy an evening out with friends and family, comprising around over 100 million customers by 2025.

News Reach To Go Up

In 2020, Comscore data indicates that online news had a reach of 454 million as compared to 450 million for online entertainment.

Power of Newspaper

With the shift of premium customers to SVOD, print will increase in importance with respect to such audiences. Large news networks will focus on increasing the collection of regional news to create very strong regional products (print + digital) of extremely high relevance to audiences – news that national and large digital news aggregators may not be able to provide.

Reduced Ad Reliance

Cover price growth is critical for the print segment, in order to reduce the variable loss incurred on each newspaper printed by most print companies, and India could see a doubling of newspaper average cover prices by 2025.

More Focus On Margins

Continued focus on operating margins will be required and made possible by creating state-wide shared services across news gathering, production and distribution while print companies focus on their core capabilities of brand building, community management and editorial excellence.

Video & Audio

Content produced for the video OTT segment will begin to play a more important role in using and promoting music – akin to Bollywood’s link to music – and we could see a lot more music led innovation from this segment.

Consumption Volumes

If YouTube continues to provide recent and video content-linked music for free, the paid OTT music sector will reach 5 million top-end users by 2023, and grow to INR2 billion in revenue, leading to consolidation in the music OTT segment; if not, paid subscribers could cross 50 million.

Radio Relevance

Radio, the most affordable of all media for consumers, will continue to exist and serve large portions of India through smart phone FM receivers, and play a vital role in retail advertising.

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Roberto Benigni to Get Golden Lion at Venice For Lifetime Achievement

admin   April 15, 2021

Double Oscar winner Roberto Benigni, a renowned actor-filmmaker, will receive this year’s Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement of the 78th Venice International Film Festival. The festival in physical format will take place from September 1-11, 2021. Right from his debut, marked by his innovative and irreverent approach to rules and traditions, Roberto Benigni stands out in the panorama of the Italian performing arts.

The decision was made by the board of La Biennale di Venezia, which embraced the proposal of the Festival’s Director, Alberto Barbera.

Alberto Barbera said, “Right from his debut, marked by his innovative and irreverent approach to rules and traditions, Roberto Benigni stands out in the panorama of the Italian performing arts as an unprecedented and unequaled figure of reference.

Juggling his appearances on theatrical stages, movie sets, and television studios, each time with surprising results, he shines in all of them thanks to his exuberance and impetuosity, his generous way with the public, and the passionate joyfulness that is perhaps the most original hallmark of his opus.”

He added: “With admirable eclecticism, and always true to form, he is one of the most extraordinary comedy actors in an admittedly rich gallery of Italian performers; a memorable director who makes enormously popular movies; and, his most recent transformation, one of the most esteemed performers and popularizers of Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’.

Few artists have equaled his ability to combine explosive comic timing, which is often accompanied by irreverent satire, with his admirable talent as an actor – at the service of great directors such as Federico Fellini, Matteo Garrone, and Jim Jarmusch – and as an engaging and sophisticated literary exegete.”

Accepting the honour, Benigni said, “My heart is full of joy and gratitude. It is an immense honor to receive such an important recognition of my work from the Venice International Film Festival.”

Benigni was born in Misericordia (Castiglion Fiorentino, Arezzo) on October 27, 1952. He began his career in the early 1970s and soon became one of Italy’s most beloved and popular actors, directors, and screenwriters, well-known and appreciated throughout the world.

His film La vita è bella (Life is Beautiful, 1997), which he wrote and directed, received the 1998 Grand Prize of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival and in 1999, of the seven Oscar nominations the movie received, it won Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Actor (as well as Best Music, awarded to Nicola Piovani). With the same film in 1999 he won the Screen Actor Guild and Bafta award as Best Actor. La vita è bella is Italian cinema’s most popular movie: 9.7 million spectators. And it goes down in the history of Italian cinema as the Italian movie that has totaled the highest number of spectators worldwide.

Include Digital Space in Copyright Act

admin   February 9, 2021

There has been a consensus among panel members to completely overhaul the Indian Copyright Act and make it contemporary to modern times and look at changing dynamics by embracing emerging digital ecosystem in the new provisions.

Titled ‘Digital India Copyright Act – Redefining the Future of Creative Works’, the panelists at the Fast Track Digital Series delved deep into the various aspects of the Copyright Act of 1957.

Moderating the session, Trevor Fernandes, Vice President, Govt. Affairs – Asia Pacific, MPA, emphasised the need to protect the intellectual property rights. Fernandes maintained that while revisiting an Act that was last reviewed in 2012 was justified, he cautioned that 2020 was not the time to rush changes without very careful deliberation and policy calibration.

“I think the Copyright Act needs to be overhauled in a substantive and significant manner. Starting off with the digital space, I’d like to see it written in simple language and have non ambiguous clauses and provisions, which make it easier,” said Ameet Datta, Partner – Sai Krishna Associates. “We should include modalities to fight digital piracy.”

Anil Lale, General Counsel, Viacom18, added that piracy needs to be tackled more stringently. “Pirates have no face and territorial boundaries because of the digital space that we are in,” stated Anil Lale.

Ritesh Khosla, Deputy General Counsel, Sony Pictures Networks India said piracy should be redefined in the new Copyright Act. “Piracy is at an industrial scale and it is eating legitimate revenues of the government. It is an economic offense,” Khosla stated.

Talking about the efforts of MPA and the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), Uday Singh, MD, MPA India, said, “The MPA and ACE has been set up as an answer to this multi-jurisdictional and shapeshifting problem. Multiple jurisdictions have tried to put voluntary measures in place and what we have been able to achieve with the Telegram Monitoring Project (TMP) is a very good step in that direction.”

Panelists also debated on ownership of copyrightable works created by artificial intelligence and machine learning. They called for an international convention for a global consensus on this subject.

Copyright is not a state or a national phenomenon. If a copyright is created, it will only be valid if the whole world gives it that protection 

ACE Acts Against Piracy

admin   February 9, 2021

At a time when people are home streaming movies and TV shows during the global Coronavirus pandemic, Belinda Lui, President & Managing Director Asia Pacific, Motion Picture Association, emphasized the importance of Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), the global coalition to reduce piracy and protect the legal marketplace for creative content.

“We’re proud of the program MPA continues to make in combating online piracy under the banner of the ACE,” said Lui addressing industry leaders at the 5th edition of Fast Track Digital, as part of the FICCI Knowledge Series. “MPA along with the ACE will continue to protect the copyright that protects all work through every form of distribution channel.”

“In just over three years ACE has grown to include 35 leading global media and entertainment  companies with Apple TV plus, becoming ACE’s newest member. ACE remains proactive in addressing online piracy by disrupting and disabling access to the most egregious online websites. The research also shows that site blocking leads to increasing uptake of legitimate services,” said Lui.

She cited the recent closure of Tamilrockers, which traded off the theft of intellectual property (IP) as testament to the efforts of rights holders, in protecting the rights of all creators. “There is a strong will to support legitimate business and create the best possible playing field,” Lui stated.

Lui said that the entertainment industry is encouraged by spirit, ingenuity, and community displayed by those in the digital sector worldwide. “One sector that has led the charge in innovating to deliver the best possible experience for audiences is the Video On Demand (VoD) industry,” said Lui. “The incredibly dynamic nature of the Indian VoD industry led by highly talented professionals has helped deliver a very high standard of storytelling.

Over 40 Indian OTT services are vying for the audience’s attention for both the subscription and advertising models. The number of factors that contribute to positioning India as one of the fastest VoD markets in the world include the enthusiasm of fans who love their content, the range of viewing options available to the audience and the broadband connectivity.

Independent Regulatory Mechanism Needed

admin   February 9, 2021

Justice Pratibha M Singh, Judge, Delhi High Court has advocated the need for an independent adjudicatory mechanism for the converged media and entertainment industry. She was delivering the keynote at the Fast Track Digital series, as part of the FICCI Knowledge Series, on the role of the digital economy to revitalize economic growth.

The Government of India has recently brought in digital news and Over The Top (OTT) services under the ambit of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.

“The convergence of Free to Air Broadcasting, Pay TV, Direct to Home Television (DTH), OTT, VoD shows that there is a need for the creation of an independent adjudicatory mechanism, which is not consisting of functionaries of broadcasters. In order to lend credibility, transparency and fairness, the same, could be under the aegis of an independent service provider,” said Justice Pratibha M Singh.

“If media and content creators have to remain free and fair they ought to involve free and fair adjudicatory mechanisms, which are not coercive in nature.”

Elaborating further, Justice Singh said that apart from the creation of independent regulatory  mechanisms, there needs to be a method where broadcasters are a part of the adjudicatory mechanisms to ensure the code of conduct is compulsorily applicable to all broadcasters without exception.

“OTT and VoD platforms and other creative content providers should also be a part of this mechanism. Such a system would also protect and preserve the rights guaranteed under the Constitution of India. This would also minimize the need for legislative and judicial interference in issues relating to content,” she added.

She further said the need for clarity in terms of the code of conduct that platforms ought to adhere to as unchecked growth could lead to sudden disruption, especially because there are local issues and sensitivities which could get affected.

“Sometimes the non dealing of issues with alacrity, could also lead to questions being raised about the integrity of these platforms. The digital world should ensure that it remains a medicine for all and poison to none,” she concluded.

M&E Continues to be a Strong Pillar of Indian Economy

admin   February 9, 2021

During lockdown, both TV and smartphone video consumption surged as people spent more time at home. OTT continued its onward march, increasing its presence in Indian Tier 2-4 cities

Even as 2019 has been a tough year and businesses across the board have had challenges, Media and entertainment sector continues to be a strong contributor to the Indian economy, said Kanchan Samtani, Managing Director & Partner, Boston Consulting Group-India, while briefing about the CII BCG report on the state of Indian M&E sector that was released during the CII Big Picture Summit 2019.

The report, she said, “talks about what this year has looked like so far. And what are the expectations and what are some of the green shoots, we’re starting to see on the recovery front”. “Media and entertainment sector continues to be a strong contributor to the Indian economy. I think that fact has not changed. As we’ve been discussing over the last two or three big picture meetings, continue to be a set of imperatives, which have changed a little bit this year, on what all stakeholders have to do to continue to grow the sector and realize the full potential,” Samtani added.

Presenting an overview of the CII BCG report, the Managing Director & Partner of Boston Consulting Group-India said that from a consumption standpoint, this year, on the back of the COVID-19 crisis, the one thing that has changed positively for the sector, is there has actually been a spike in terms of the total consumption.

“This has been seen across platform, on digital or television broadcasting. And it’s been universally true, particularly at the start when people stayed home a lot more. But actually, a lot of that spike we expect will also continue going forward,” she said.

Speaking about major drivers of growth, she said that non-primetime viewership has actually been a major contributor to this growth. “OTT has been a major driver of growth, and has also actually seen a lot of growth in the rural and tier 2 and 3 cities from a consumption standpoint. And for the first time in India, on the digital platforms, we are actually starting to see a very meaningful inclination from consumers to pay for content directly on the digital platform.”

According to the report, the pay OTT models have actually started seeing as much as 50 to 60% growth in consumers who are willing to pay for subscription services online compared to the past.

India’s growth story on media and entertainment continues to be very unique, and multi modal, Samtani stated. “What I mean by multi modal is that different forms of media still have not been growing at the cost of necessarily the traditional media, I think what digital has done is added many more use cases for consumption, which didn’t exist in the pre odd pre digital days,” she observed.

Kanchan Samtani, Managing Director & Partner, Boston Consulting Group-India

According to the Managing Director & Partner of Boston Consulting Group-India, the growth rate in television consumption is actually continuing to grow in the range of 6-8 percent in some years, while they still continue to grow at more like 15%. “We’ll see other sectors have started to flatten a little bit. But I think overall, our expectation is that this will continue to be a high growth story across the board. And that’ll be multimodal in nature, in terms of the way that it actually takes off in other emerging markets like China, for example, where some of this has also played out in the past,” Samtani predicted.

She also thinks that the M&E Sector has had a tough time this year on the ad spend front, particularly in the first two quarters. However, given the recovery during the past crisis across the world, she is optimistic that the recovery will be faster. “Advertising, at least in the past crisis, has actually seen a V-shaped recovery. Of course, it’s linked to the GDP growth and growth of all the other sectors in the market. But I think the past crises give us some comfort that not just in India, but in other parts of the world as well, advertising has been closer to a V shaped recovery and we can hope to see that here as well.”

According to the CII BCG report, between July and October, Indian M&E sector actually saw 20% increase in AD volume. “Some sectors, particularly durables, food, and beverages, personal care and accessories, really saw a much sharper recovery in the month following the lockdown. Some sectors continue to be very resilient.”

One of the strong growth indicators, the report finds, is in the large number of advertisers utilizing both television and digital media platforms to expand their reach. “We’ve seen as many as 1,300 new advertisers coming up in the last couple of months, and a lot of these earlier have been from education and healthcare sectors,” Samtani said.

Another positive trend the report points out is that the digital advertising has accelerated in 2019. “Most published sources have reported that they expect digital advertising to be maybe 15% by 2022. But we have actually touched this figure and most people have revised their projections and start looking at more like 20% of growth over the next couple of years,” she pointed out.

Samtani attributes this shift to change in advertisers’ behavior. “Advertisers have wanted to target customers more specifically with improved analytics. They have been asking for return metrics and specific ROI calculations which digital has been able to offer to them. And I think that is what has accelerated the shift, along with the consumption shifts to digital platforms at a much faster rate.”

The report also talks about Indian M&E industry’s contribution to the Indian Economy. “It is well understood that the Indian M&E industry has actually been contributing both intangibly as well as tangibly to the Indian economy. The contribution in tangible terms and direct terms has been through employment generation and the contribution to GDP of which is almost 1%. If I take direct, indirect, as well as the induced figures, our estimate is that the contribution that the M&E industry is making to India’s GDP will be in the range of three to  three and a half percent. Some of the sub sectors that have really grown faster have been OTT, gaming and digital,” the Managing Director & Partner of Boston Consulting Group-India said.


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CII Seeks Industry Status for M&E in Union Budget

admin   January 7, 2021

The Media and Entertainment sector, through the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), has sought industry status for itself and infrastructure status for broadcasting, ahead of the Union Budget 2021 to be presented by the Finance Minister on February 1.

The M&E sector has been growing at an estimated gross annual rate of around 13.5% for the past several years and has shown the potential to reach $100 billion by 2030. But despite being one of the top revenue earners for the government and having expanded India’s soft power reach globally, the sector has been conspicuously absent from the list of focus sectors in the Union Budgets for over two decades now.

However, in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, the M&E sector has been grappling with multiple problems owing to the economic lockdown and social distancing restrictions put in place. Now, through the CII, the sector has come up with a Pre-Budget Memorandum 2021-22 that recommends a number of changes to help it stand back on its feet.

“The sector has been growing at a gross annual rate of 13.5% for the past several years and has the potential to provide millions of jobs and boost India’s export performance. Getting industry status will help the sector get cohesive policies, special schemes and subsidies,” says the pre-budget memorandum.

It also adds that infrastructure status for broadcasting would give it the much needed support to get access to funds at a lower rate for laying cables, and building and maintenance of towers.

Under the direct tax recommendations, CII has sought a change in withholding on royalty payments towards non-theatrical rights. It said that non-theatrical rights of films such as those for digital and satellite platforms are currently subject to a 10% tax. The industry body is of the view that the rate of withholding tax on domestic royalty payments towards non-theatrical rights be brought down to 2% on a par with what is levied on earnings from sale, distribution and exhibition of cinematographic films. “This would come as a huge respite to the industry, particularly for small production houses, by addressing their cashflow issues for working capital requirement,” the pre-budget memorandum says.

“There is a huge shift in viewer preferences and the use of technology for consuming cinematographic films. A lot of films are directly released on satellite or digital platforms, which are becoming the more popular medium of content consumption among viewers. With the advent of technology and its fast growing pace, making a distinction between the medium is not in line with the current trend of consumption,” the memorandum adds.

Further, under its GST recommendations, the industry body has sought an alternative payment mode for discharging GST liability under Reverse Charge Mechanism (by way of utilizing ITC also). The rationale behind the proposed change, it says would address the problem of huge piling up of ITC in media service industry and resolve cash crunch. “Since credit ledger is already allowed for payment of output liability, extending the same for even RCM liability is a small favour to the entire business community in India in these stressed times,” the industry body urged the government.

The industry also wants removal of interest payable whilst reversing ITC availed, from Vendors whose invoices aren’t paid within six months. Citing the 28th GST Council meeting, held on 21st July 2018, which agreed to industry’s representation, the memorandum says, “By delaying the payment to the Vendor, the revenue has not been deprived of its tax due, as the Vendor has already deposited the tax to the Government. While the control to ensure bogus invoices aren’t in vogue is understandable, it is not just to demand further interest also from the recipient, after having got the taxes already from the Vendor.”

To eliminate the cascading effect of tax and thus reduce the tax burden on the end consumer, CII has recommended removal of sponsorship services from the list of services to attract GST under reverse charge mechanism (‘RCM’). Suggesting three alternatives to this change, the industry body says that either sponsorship services should be covered under forward charge “which will allow taxpayers to avail full credit of tax paid on procurements”, or sponsorship services provided by body corporate or partnership firm should be excluded from RCM. As a third alternative, “supplies made which are covered under RCM should be excluded from the value of exempted supply for the purpose of reversal of input tax credit,” says the memorandum.

It further adds that allowing GST input credit on certain regular business expenses like renting or hiring of motor vehicles used for business purposes or food and beverage purchased and outdoor catering services availed during the production of television content and movies will help bring down business expenses for TV programme producers, broadcasters & movie makers and be helpful mostly in case of in-house production. “Amount paid to makeup artist is part of giving creative life to a character in the content which is very important. Please remove the blocked credit for this industry for these items,” it says.

The industry also seeks an increase in the time limit of 24 hours for generating IRN on the NIC portal to 96 hours “for businesses to sufficiently comply with relevant provisions”.

Another issue, CII points out, is that credit notes after a merger or amalgamation is consummated, which is “causing business cost since the credit note with GST is not something the tax payer can upload in the GST portal, which mandates mentioning of the GSTIN & Invoice Number against which the credit note is tagged to.” The industry suggests an update in this regard on the GSTN portal to allow the option to choose Amalgamation as a reason and report Credit notes against invoices raised on earlier GSTIN.

The industry has asked the government to consider as a part of relief package allowing a one year time from the end of the financial year to avail ITC, as the time line of 6 months from end of FY for availing input credit for a financial year is too short given the Covid situation.

Remake Rights of Cinematograph Films

admin   January 7, 2021

The royalty payments to literary Authors pursuant to Section 18 & 19 of Copyright Act 1957 read with Copyright Rules have to be explicitly evaluated at this point of time, says IP and Media advocate Shekhar Mennon

Remake rights acquisition of Cinematograph Films exists as common trade practice in the film industry since the invention of celluloid. On acquisition of Remake right, the primary copyright that gets assigned is the Original Literary, musical, dramatic and artistic work(s) and not the Cinematograph film work per-se of the old film producer because the film producer who is acquiring the remake right , he himself produces the new Cinematograph Film work which will be with him for the term till Copyright subsists and that’s for 60 years pursuant to Section 26 of Copyright Act 1957 and not in perpetuity !

Notwithstanding above, the interesting point that being discussed here is on the Royalty payments by the Producers to the Literary work Authors on film remake rights acquisition,  post the Copyright Amendment 2012. Literary work authors of Cinematograph Film specifically considered herein are : Story writer, Dialogue writer, Dubbing language writer and subtitling writer of any language.

Its well known within the film industry that prior to June 2012, sharing of the proceeds with the literary work Author incorporated in Cinematograph Film work never happened because of the established copyright principle in reference to Indian Performing Rights Society Limited (IPRS) v. Eastern Indian Motion Pictures Association- AIR 1977 SC 1443 wherein the Producer is the first Owner, unless if there exists any contrary provisions, which rarely happened (exceptions may be there, but chances are remote).

However , post the Copyright Amendment 2012, in Section 18 & 19 of Copyright Act 1957, significant amendments got introduced wherein the literary and musical work(s) gets incorporated in the derivative rights of Cinematograph Film work and Sound recording work, the said literary and music authors cannot waive the right to receive the royalties to be shared on equal basis with the producer and tightened with further stringent legislation that if the royalty sharing on equal basis are waived off then the whole contract  becomes void. Attached herein the link of Copyright Bare Act for quick reference https://copyright.gov.in/Documents/CopyrightRules1957.pdf

Please note that receiving royalties , equal sharing , utilisation of work in any form  and void contract provisions of Section 18 of Copyright Act 1957 read with Copyright Rules 2013 is ONLY for literary and musical works incorporated in Cinematograph Film & Sound recording work(s) and NOT for Dramatic (screen play writers) and Artistic work Authors. But interestingly Section 19(8),(9) & (10) on mode of assignment it protects for  ANY WORK which includes original Dramatic & Artistic works. Whatever the case may be , original Literary and Musical work(s) are undoubtedly protected u/s 18 & 19 of the Copyright Act 1957 without any iota of doubt but Dramatic & Artistic are in legal limbo for debates and arguments and it’s not the subject matter of this write up.

Now coming back to the moot question of this article ~  does  the literary work Author(s) – Story writer, Dialogue writer, sub titling writer, dubbing writer etc get the equal sharing on royalty from the Film Producers, post the Copyright Amendment of 2102 on sale of re-make rights as provided under section 18 & 19 of the Copyright Act 1957, read with Copyright Rules 2013 ?

The answer is – probably NO,  despite of having strict copyright legislation in place. From 2012 onwards thousands of remake film rights would have been concluded , but the situation of sharing of royalty with literary work Authors are doubtful. If it’s happening , the fraternity of Literary Authors would be proliferating with new IP creations and if not the intention of the copyright legislation will be buried in statute books only.

Thus, those Literary & Musical Authors who are getting royalty on equal share basis on the selling of  remake rights by the Producers, the intention of the copyright statute being implemented properly and if not , then the limitation period for filing the suit is always open for the literary Authors / for the NextGen of the said literary Authors because of Section 22 of Copyright Act 1957 . Please note that the cause of action is continuous and it will remain till the Copyright term exists for the Literary Authors or to his legal heirs. Thus, anytime the present or future generation of Literary & Musical author can claim from the film producer which means the producers are always on potential contingent statutory liability.

For public limited company or closely held megalith media-entertainment conglomerates, the repercussions and ramifications will be more severe as it will seriously jeopardise the IP Valuations, stock market matrix, tax incidences (both direct and indirect taxes) etc in future date.

Thus , the royalty payments to literary Authors pursuant to Section 18 & 19 of Copyright Act 1957 read with Copyright Rules have to be explicitly evaluated at this point of time by the head honchos, CEO, Board members and principal officers or else in any future date, eroding of capital and net worth of producers and / or of companies are imminent on tabulating the royalty payments, damages, fines, penalties, statutory liabilities etc by the attorneys.

Shekhar Mennon, is an IP & Media Lawyer and has gained comprehensive exposure in legal, business and strategic functions from Entertainment industry, Copyright Societies and Broadcasting organisations. He bring forth the considerable experience from one of the largest media house – News Television India (presently STAR India) , where he held the position as Company Secretary & Sr. Legal Counsel and being the Board member in holding and subsidiary companies till 2001.Presently an Advocate practicing from 2002 at Bombay High Court as well as in Supreme Court of India.





Pickle AFM 2020 Issue Editorial

admin   January 7, 2021

The five day American Film Market Online 2020 (November 9-13) began on a bright note. We have brought out India focused Pickle AFM Edition and it is in the AFM Newsstand. This virtual AFM 2020 is one of the most user friendly navigation platforms, connecting the dots of fulfilling the diverse wishes of global delegates.

AFM has gone virtual for the first time in 41 years. It is amazing to know, 19 people from AFM organised the AFM online market, strategising the whole exercise working from home. In normal circumstances, 350 would have been engaged to conduct the physical market.

AFM has participants from 78 countries, 3600 delegates, 1450 buyers, 562 exhibitors, and 465 film screenings. Added to this are 205 speakers from 20 countries participating in 71 sessions spread over five days.

AFM represents the true spirit of global independent film producers, directors, buyers, content creators, consultants and advisors. In addition to Film Commissions across USA, 25 Film Commissions across the world are attending.

In fact, the most important element of AFM is the anticipation among filmmakers and producers to plan and strategise films that would come out fresh to the market in the next 12 to 18 months.

Now that India has opened up business for international business travelers, filming in India is a great opportunity for international film producers. Crews with Film Visa can get to shoot in India and this Visa facilitation is available in over 120 Indian Embassies and Consulates across the world. The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting’s Film Facilitation Office (www.ffo.gov.in) is currently accepting applications for film shoots in India.

In fact, the Government of India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has to be credited for opening FFO. This has been on talks for over four decades and the execution has happened in the last couple of years and foreign film shoots are being facilitated and streamlined to get the best out of India’s locales and media services.

With one billion mobile subscribers, 550 million plus smart phone users, 620 million Internet subscribers, 950 TV channels, 1,800 films produced annually, 100,000 newspapers and periodicals and over 50 OTT platforms, India’s vibrant M&E industry provides attractive growth opportunities for global and domestic corporations. The government’s policies are geared towards realizing the full potential of this growing sector.

Feel free to email your thoughts and suggestions. We will be most happy to answer any of your questions and we are just a few clicks away to set up meetings (www.pickle.co.in) for collaborating with Indian media and entertainment companies.

Pickle Media

What Uday Shankar Said in CII BIG PICTURE SUMMIT 2012

admin   December 10, 2020

Register now for CII BIG PICTURE SUMMIT 2020

The Indian M&E industry, at the current growth rate, will still take 15 years to get to 100 billion dollars, said Star India CEO Uday Shankar, at the CII BIG PICTURE SUMMIT 2012.

(Uday Shankar is currently , president of Walt Disney Company APAC and chairman, Star & Disney India. He will step down from this current position on December 31)


It is one of those rare occasions where the whole industry has come together to look at the big picture. What is even more important is not only that we trying to paint a big picture, but we are also trying to paint a bold picture because of the tangible goal that the industry has set for itself: ‘A 100 billion dollar media and entertainment industry’. Let’s see where we are and how difficult it is to get there.

We are a 15 billion dollar industry today, which includes television, films print, radio, digital media – growing at around 14 or 15 per cent a year. This, by some accounts has been impressive – benefiting immensely from the tailwinds of GDP growth of the last decade.

At this rate, we will still take 15 years to get to 100 billion dollars. Obviously we want to get there much faster. The question is: Why and how do we do that?

The benefits of pursuing this dream are obvious to the industry– larger size should lead to bigger profits, bigger share holding value and more wealth. It is easy for the industry to get motivated about the goal.

Today, at $15 billion as an industry, we are about half the size of Google – a 10-year-old company ($26 billion revenues) Let’s not even go that far: if the entire Indian media industry was a company, it would rank 7th or 8th in India!

Media and industry is a globally growing industry – but our participation in that eco-system is zero and India is hardly factored into the global thought process of technology or content.
In the late 90s – when I first went to IBC in Amsterdam I remember that the first thought that struck me as a young television professional was the complete lack of attention for Indian visitors.

No matter how early you made the appointment – the people one got to meet were hardly ever the most senior people. They showed little patience or enthusiasm. I notice how – 15 years later, because India is now a fast growing market, there is a clear shift in their focus. I do not frequent the IBC – however, with striking regularity I get invitations from technology and product vendors.

However, it still has not changed as much as it should. Media Technology is still not developed keeping India in mind. They are still not keen on developing products for the country, which is not the deal with China or the United States for example.

Similarly, even in programming – Hollywood studios are keen to sell to India. However, because it is not meaningful in size – there is no customization in any aspect: sales, product contracts or content – to suit the needs of the Indian buyer. Not being able to sell to India has no material impact on their top lines. As a result, we are not able to fully exploit the potential of that content. Taking this argument a bit further – Hollywood content is sold in two categories as premium and basic. That classification in India does not work.

But explaining it to them continues to be a struggle and there is no third bucket for the Indian consumer. Not having the scale does not give us a top seat at the table – our ability to manoeuvre business discussions the way we would like to is severely constrained. The question naturally follows: How do we achieve this scale?

To start with – we are drunk on our own volumes: largest number of newspapers in circulation, largest number of television viewers at 400 million, 100 million digital consumers. Digital in particular – is an indictment of our creative and strategic limitations – we have 600 million mobile screens and yet we do not have a unique content proposition for the medium.

So, our ability to convert that into corresponding value is disappointing – of course some of that value will come through economic growth but there is nothing that stops us from creating more value out of our volume today.

And do remember, even at these volumes our reach as a percentage of population is not spectacular: we still have 100 million households with no television, their time spent on it is abysmally low when compared to global standards, 350 million people read the newspaper – but that tells how many do not read!

Scale brings with it not only value but also greater reach. One place to look for scale is to gaze outside India. Our friends in the pharma sector have shown how this possible: 50 per cent of the pharma sector revenues come from outside of India. These are from developed markets like US, developing ones like Brazil and newer markets like Africa.

Our media and entertainment industry serves – what is arguably the world’s toughest media market: catering to a diverse culture, language, value systems and sophistication of tastes. If a pan-Indian broadcaster acquires the expertise to speak to an audience in over 5 or 6 languages, why should it not allow us to go beyond the Indian Diaspora?

However, whether it catering to an audience beyond Indians or just scaling for the domestic market – we all know that it is not that simple.

In television for example we will need lot more content and will come not only by scaling production but a fundamental transformation of the eco-system – resources, talent etc: all have to evolve dramatically. For example – the production infrastructure in Mumbai studio space, access to talent is creaking and is unable to keep pace with the demand. However, it is not a problem that the industry can solve in isolation – it requires intervention from municipal corporations, State government, Central government and perhaps even the initiative and support from other states.

Similarly, look at distribution – for years this industry has reeled under the impact of analogue. Finally the needle has moved when the government understood the needs for digitalization and passed an act to enforce this. Again – we are seeing how important it is for all state Governments to actively participate in this endeavour. The nature of the business is such that it is wide-spread and far-reaching in its relevance and impact.

For all of this to happen, the entire society – whose interest the government is supposed to represent must help us in this.

Usually, it is easy to make the case to the Government and the Politicians when the benefits to society are clear and immediate. However, if the benefits accrue over the long-term and inflict short-term pain – I am one of those who believe that this is a struggle to get them behind us. So it is even more critical for us to establish a clear case for a 100 billion dollar M&E industry.

Two of the goals that all establishments are worried about are financial resources and jobs. The sheer scale of a $100 billion dollars can generate over 15 billion dollars in taxes (assumption: 15 per cent EBIT; 30 per cent tax rate). Let us look at what that means: it is more than half the current allocation for NREGA (8 billion). The Government has passed the Right to Education act and as part of that efforts on Sarva Siksha Abhayan have been scaled up.

At 100 billion dollars our tax revenues would have been able to fund the entire budget of Sarva Siksha Abhayan (5 billion) or the National Rural Health Mission (6 billion).Perhaps, outside the I&B ministry, the media and entertainment sector is not taken seriously in the economic agenda of the nation. In the best of times it is seen a vehicle of glitz and glamour and most of the times as a source of irritation. At 100 billion dollars the significance of the industry will be difficult to ignore or undermine.

The other big benefit will be in driving employment. For example, today we directly employ at least 80 people when we do a drama on Star Plus and obviously this can be much higher depending on the scale of the show. This is just direct employment – you can imagine the number of people directly and indirectly that can be employed by the M&E industry.

The beauty of the Media and Entertainment is that it does not place massive demands on technical and educational infrastructure. Most of us are born with the creative skills and this can be honed with marginal investment. This is quite unlike creating a pool of doctors, engineers and software programmers.

We all know about the college drop-outs who have gone on to create enduring businesses – be it Microsoft or Facebook. While maybe not at that scale, the number of drop-outs who get embraced by the M&E industry and go on to be successful is a story waiting to be told. So, whether it is the industry or society this is a goal worth pursuing. Before we embark on this journey – we need to achieve clarity of vision and consensus on that clarity. Until that clarity comes in we will not have the commitment to pursue it. 100 billion dollars is a dream, but it is certainly one worth living for.