With an estimated $30 billion in annual revenue, the Indian media and entertainment (M&E) market is set to expand on a global scale, presenting a plethora of opportunity for exponential growth. By Vivek Ratnakar
The ever-resilient Indian Media and Entertainment industry has recovered in a big way after two tumultuous years of an unprecedented Covid-19 crisis, and uncertainty that followed. Time spent on entertainment, news, and sports has increased more than ever as the M&E sector stepped in to inform, educate, and entertain. Every home is now actively interacting with some aspect of M&E across multiple screens, to relax, to work, or to study. Post, pandemic digital media has firmly established itself as the second largest segment of Indian M&E. Digital and other technologies played a significant role in this, shifting the power equation in favour of consumers.
The significant increase in content support that India’s animation and VFX sector offers to top international content studios is another success story. The mantra ‘Make in India and Show the World’ could be powered by this fusion of technical knowhow and creativity, launching Indian stories and storytellers onto the international stage.
A Unique Consumer Market
The media and entertainment market in India has always been unique—high volume and low ARPU, but leading the pack in terms of technology and adoption of digital channels. Indian consumers love bundles and quantity, but also pay for good value. India is one of the top markets for smartphones and yet there is a sizable feature phone user base. Indian consumers love to watch free satellite TV and subscribe to international OTT platforms while also binge-watching YouTube.
India is home to 385 million millennials, accounting for 65% of total Indian population, who exhibit changing media consumption habits and evolving lifestyles.
The democratisation of M&E in India has been facilitated by technology; content is now produced for, by, and of the people. Consumer data flow offers detailed and real-time insights into what consumers like and dislike, when, where, and how they consume products, as well as whether the price points are reasonable.
Never before have Indian consumers had more influence over what kind of content and experiences are created, when and where they should be delivered, and how they should be promoted.
A Favorable Environment
India feels compelled to support the transformative impact of digitization and the development of electronic infrastructure for media and entertainment delivery. The country is prepared to seize the opportunity to position itself as a cluster of skills and capabilities for the global media and entertainment industry in order to transact media and entertainment business and become the world’s leading content hub.
With a growing middle class of techsavvy buyers and thriving innovation industries, the Indian M&E industry is undergoing a massive transformation and exponential growth, offering opportunities to
excel in almost every M&E vertical, including Films, TV, Print, Digital Advertising, Animation, VFX, Gaming, Comics, OOH, Radio, and Music.
Role of Government Policies
Government policies are facilitating the creation of an environment in which media and entertainment start-ups can be incubated and supported in order to maximise participation in the content creation and dissemination market. The Government of India has taken a number of actions, including digitising the cable distribution industry to draw more institutional funding, raising the FDI cap in cable and direct-to-home (DTH) satellite platforms from 74% to 100%, and giving the film industry status to facilitate easy access to institutional financing.
The Government of India’s Ministry of Information & Broadcasting established the Film Facilitation Office (FFO), which serves as a single point of contact for producers and production companies to receive the necessary filming permissions. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has combined the Film Media Units under one corporation in December 2020, which has resulted in a convergence of resources and activities and better coordination, ensuring synergy and efficiency in carrying out each media unit’s mission.
The Government of India has also formed an AVGC Promotion Task Force and work is underway to create an Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming, and Comic (AVGC) Centre for Excellence.
The macroeconomic outlook for India, the Englishspeaking workforce, the government’s renewed emphasis on ‘Make in India for the World,’ and the emergence of the digital economy are all clear
indicators of intent. In India, the M&E industry has seen advancement and change in the past few years. New inscription technology has indeed contributed to audience segmentation and fragmentation. Increased internet penetration provides an unlimited forum for publishing, broadcasting, multimedia, and interactive services. With over 900 million internet subscribers, 700+ million smart phone users, 500 million active social media users, 900+ TV channels, 510 million gamers, and 1.2 billion mobile subscribers, M&E in India has the potential to significantly boost economic growth and job creation.
In India, rising content demand and shifting consumer preferences, as well as increased access to smart phones, smart TVs, and handheld devices, are creating unprecedented creative and commercial opportunities for content providers.
India is well-positioned to cater to the use of digital technology, both in terms of required skills and project management capabilities. There are more and more opportunities to manipulate media content of any type for distribution in another format. This ability to manipulate and repackage content fosters entrepreneurship and job growth. The presence of qualified engineers who can work on digital technology in India, as well as creative talent capable of producing world-class content that can cross geographical and cultural boundaries, is positively impacting media production, distribution, and consumption patterns. With the advent of on-demand viewing and the proliferation of content, measuring viewer behaviour has become critical.
Rise of Digital Economy
The audio-visual industry is heavily influenced by data. Platforms use data to provide tailored content to consumers and to capture consumer preferences, which they then use for advertising or to deliver more content.
Digital technology is lowering the cost of content production, creating new opportunities to create highquality content. Low-cost digital cameras, camcorders, and editing equipment capable of producing broadcast-quality output have reduced the cost of production and lowered the barrier to entry into the industry.
The spread of digital technology allows both small Indian companies and established media companies to participate in the growing global M&E market. Digitization and the expansion of the internet are lowering many barriers to market entry and creating opportunities for smaller businesses with expertise in new forms of content creation. India has only recently started to reimagine life in the Metaverse, where our digital and physical lives collide. This is a world with limitless creativity and a world that connects people across borders. India is also sharply focused on creating the required infrastructure, giving incentives, bringing in more clarity on regulations, promoting technologies of tomorrow like 5G, AR/VR, Artificial Intelligence, etc, to further boost the growth.
With these steps, India will be able to capitalise on new opportunities because the growth potential and market size are enormous. The level of digital adaptability demonstrated during COVID-19 is bound to open up new opportunities in both the domestic and export markets.