Independent Films Will Never Be the Same Again: Bobby Bedi

admin   September 2, 2018

For those interested in mathematics, there is a method of solving equations which involves the introduction of an external character often represented by the Greek letter Lamda. It helps solve the equation, in fact the equation cannot be solved without it. But once solved it can be removed. The solution stays. I will come back to Lamda later in this piece.

OTT is the new field for TV drama and independent film making. It has changed everything, scripts, budgets, quality of art, even the list of senior crew and actors prepared to work on the smaller formats.

The Ad break was the bane of home viewing. As an audience, we had come to believe that our pleasure and concentration was at the mercy of soap, shampoo, sweet black liquids, the list is endless. OTT removed the AD break.

The other possibly bigger bane of home viewing was the belief that while all human beings are born equal, (which is true), therefore they must consume entertainment identically, in fixed doses and at fixed times. This, even though their consumption patterns of food clothing, other necessities and luxuries was in their control their viewing pleasure was in the control of the GECs.

For me, there is a third bane. I must watch my favorite film accompanied by a poison decided by the cinema. Nope! No hope of a cocktail or glass of wine.

Netflix and Amazon changed that. All theories about consumption patterns, attention spans, viewing habits et al were thrown out of the window. What was additionally thrown out was the belief that just because you are watching it at home and on a smaller screen, the quality need not match up to the expectations of the cinema experience.

And, to be honest, what is cinema experience?  In India the exhibitors treat independent cinema like they treat lepers. They give the small independents small screens and at the most inconvenient times. If you want to see an independent film it will necessarily be at the cinema’s convenience, not yours.

All that is changing. I have viewed more and better drama in the last two years than I have viewed in the last 20. Never a fan of ad breaks, I never saw films on TV and my lifestyle rarely permitted me to plan a film outing unless it was really “one of those big ones”. Today I look forward to my post dinner two (maybe three) hours of viewing across a range of content. Addictive web-series and films I couldn’t see. All accompanied by my choice of poison.

Also, what the OTTs have created is a giant online super store. The store has everything akin to a real superstore. Laid out for you specially.  Popular offerings in the front, shelves full of normal fare and dead stock at the dusty back, but it is all there in case you want it and it’s there at the press of a button.

So, what does all this have to do with independent film? Is this not just enhanced TV? My belief is that it is not.  Drama is drama, which is not to be confused with “Spectacle”.  And the drama watching experience is not really reduced when consumed at home.  “Going to the Pictures” is largely reserved for spectacle.  Definitely true of India. If it has a star, if it has mythology, if it is BIG, see it in a cinema. That’s what Indian audiences are doing.

Now back to my Lamda theory

OTT has raised the bar for the viewer and everyone has to stretch up to it. And it has raised the bar for all viewers, so even the ”made for screen” independents have to deliver to higher expectations.  India is gearing up to delivering quality. Sacred Games is not quite “Fauda” but it well ahead of anything that Indian TV has ever shown.

Even the so called “Spectacles” have to deliver a higher quality or writing and performance. It has changed completely the quality of writing, direction, photography and, consequently, the amount spent on production.

Now take away Lamda.  Fortunately, while Netflix and Amazon have set the bar, they aren’t really relevant to India. Their numbers are sub one million in a 1.3 billion population. The real play will be amongst Hotstar, Sony Liv, Zee5 and the many new entrants.  They will reinvent the product for the larger Indian audience.

Let us look at the challenges ahead.  Technically we are fine. Creatively we have a bridge to cross.  Indian Cinema has defined, even invented its own world.  Our characters do not exist.  They are larger than life.  No one behaves, speaks, looks, dresses, walks or even lives like them.  They are written as “invented” characters and our actors deliver them as written.

Scripted drama is different. Writers have to write real characters and situations and actors have to perform them as written. Directors have to understand the real world.  All three classes of talent have to reorient themselves, even reinvent themselves.  It can be done and hopefully will be done.  Sacred Games was a step in the right direction.

This is going to be a new era for independent cinema – different, no doubt, but better and at a larger scale. It will create opportunities for talent that have so far been ignored.

Elevating Eros Now to New Heights

admin   September 2, 2018

Eros Now, the digital arm of Eros International Plc, is shifting gears to transform itself into India’s leading OTT player with a big presence in global markets. At the last count, as of June 2018, Eros Now has garnered 10.1 million worldwide paid subscribers and 113 million registered users across the mobile app, WAP and Web platforms.

Eros International, which has been in the business for four decades, has the richest Indian content libraries (over 11,000 films), and is taking a deep dive into creating “Originals” for its Eros Digital Platform. Led by RishikaLulla Singh, Eros Now has created a new digital ecosystem for content consumption in India.

“For over four decades Eros has been entertaining consumers with compelling content, both within India and abroad. With Eros Now serving as a leading OTT film content player, we are well positioned to dominate the global entertainment market by meeting the needs of users worldwide that are hungry for fresh ‘Originals’ and regional content. There is also going to be a consistent and strategic focus on the technology layer of this OTT brand. Besides, we have a prolific in-house technology teamand we are also slated to launch a coupleof industry first products in the next couple quarters,” says Rishika.

Eros Now is focused on bringing “all round entertainment” to consumers. As a part of this plan, one can expect to see the addition of new genres in Eros Now, like tie-ups to use existing famous characters; a broader focus on sports – similar to the company’s recent alliance with Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in IPL 2018 and other opportunities to fulfil the ever-growing entertainment appetite of global consumers.

“The collaboration with RCB was a part of the company’s endeavour to build a truly digital video brand with Indian users and provide the best of entertainment the country has to offer. Our wide reach across leading worldwide brands, such as LG, Roku, Vodafone, Paytm, Gold’s Gym and many more have enabled us to reach this scale. We have existing partnership with brands across sectors like banks, lifestyle, FMCG etc,” Rishika adds.

India is seeing a surge in demand for broadband data, which is fuelling growth in the number of wireline broadband subscribers in India. BhartiAirtel, India’s largest telco, has more than two million broadband (DSL) customers today and is seeing a 5.5% year-on-year growth in its broadband customers.

The entry of Reliance JioInfocomm into the segment with its JioGigaFiber technology is set to further reduce broadband rates across the country, fuelling competition and further growth in subscriber base.

Speaking on how Eros Now is working with various telecom players and cable distribution channels to get more subscribers, the Eros Now CEO says: “Our dual strategy of direct-to-consumer offerings and distributing Eros Now through leading apps across telecom operators and OEMs continues to drive our exponential growth. Whether it’s a Jio product, Airtel or Vodafone, we’ve got fairly exhaustive relationships with the telcos in terms of having the Eros Now app available. We do a lot of BTL marketing with them. There are a lot of insights in viewership patterns that we’ve learnt from the large pole of the telco customers.”

Earlier this year, Eros Now renewed its platform integration partnership worth $250 million with Reliance Jio to enable Jio users access Eros Now content on their phones. The content would include full length movies, thematic curated playlists and functions such as multi-language subtitles for movies, music video playlists, regional language filters, video progression among other things.

Eros Now already has a strong hold on regional content. “With a population of over 1.3 billion, India has as many as 23 languages spoken across the country. In India and the Indian diaspora abroad, Indians have a huge appetite for entertainment and the demand for content in multiple languages is only growing,” says Rishika.

Hindi and regional films available on OTT platforms in India comprise 93% of the total division while only 7% are foreign language films. Out of the 93% of films, around 60% of films are in Hindi and the remaining portion comprises of films from various other regional languages.

“Eros Now has the largest market share of premium Indian OTT film content with over 70% of market share with digital rights to over 11,000 films, of which approximately 5,000 are owned in perpetuity. Our most active customers on Eros Now complete watching a film in two sessions and we are now the ‘most social OTT/entertainment brand in India’. Our library comprises content across 9 different languages. In fiscal 2018, the company’s slate of 24 films comprised 14 Hindi films, 1 Tamil/Telugu films and 9 regional films,” the Eros Now CE0 adds.

However, with the entry of global players like Amazon and Netflix who are willing to invest in localised content for India. Eros Now has a tough task at hand.

Rishika believes that since Eros Now has been in the movie business for long, they have understood content consumption patterns and the pulse of the Indian consumer. “We’re able to take that learning and build a customer brand ourselves. While nobody views it differently, we’re looking at technology to play a key role here. Our USP is film and entertainment and that is where we sit strongest in terms of our library volume. We have 11,000+ plus films on our platform which is about 60% to 70% market share,” she says.

Besides relying on its vast library, Eros Now also has other plans in place. Recently, it was announced that Eros International would invest $50 million on creating original shows, with 10 originals going live 2018, starting from second quarter.

“We recently launched our first worldwide direct-to-digital original film, MeriNimmo, in association with acclaimed director Aanand L Rai, to positive critical reception. From March 2017 to June 27, 2018, Eros Now had 33 exclusive digital premieres on the platform including Munna Michael, Mukkabaaz, BaarBaarDekho, Sarkar 3, amongst others. We also launched a short film named Toffee which was directed by TahiraKashyap and 25 August, directed by GautamParvi, starring RajatKapoor, ArjunMathur, Sayani Gupta, GauriBalaji,” informs Rishika.

Over the next year, Eros Now is planning to launch a slate of over 50 premieres planed for FY ’19 over Eros Now which will comprise feature films, made-for-digital original films and original episodic programs, all of which will be available exclusively on Eros Now to its paying subscribers.

“Three original series – Flip, Smoke and Side Hero, will be launched at the end of September 2018. We have built an in-house team of writers and are using advance technologies that offer a world-class consumer experience, along with exclusive and compelling content. We plan to launch high quality and versatile content; all our originals are given treatment like of a film. Our cinematic DNA of producing content to scale will continue to reflect in our original web series as well. This is going to a very exciting year, wait and watch,” says Rishika.

She believes that the millennial audience is drastically underserved, and more so the youth across Tier 2, 3 markets in the country which have limited to no exposure to qualitative entertainment that is relevant to them.

“On a side note our larger strategy is to stay at the top of the funnel with our peak programming and ensure we drive more reach and time spent. We will identify and develop that content consistency leading to a creating that viewer habit,” she says.

At a time when viewer attention span is diminishing and audiences are spoilt for choice, Eros Now makes it a point to analyse market trends regularly.

“We compile a lot of data, to test the potential of our content and how other shows are performing. Data is an intrinsic part of the decision making and we feed the meta (data) of our existing content and learn from viewership and time spent on our existing programming across our product. What we can do better, what our competitors have done well- we are constantly reviewing all of it. Our slate will release very soon, so that’s another process yet to begin,” the Eros Now CEO says.

Binge watching is highly beneficial to streaming platforms as it showcases significant affinity to the programming and highest time spent per user. But the challenge for OTT services is to deliver hit after hit to then deliver that kind of time spent.

“Eros Now is well positioned here with the large and popular movies being able to drive more organic viewer base to the platform than any other content type and our Originals and Originals Episodic Content being able to deliver that content consistency,” says Rishika.

Changing M&E Digital Landscape Fuelling Job, Income Growth

admin   September 2, 2018

We are witnessing a dynamic and vibrant growth in the Indian Media and Entertainment sector. According to various survey reports, it is a $22 billion industry which is expected to cross $31 billion by 2020, with a compounded annual growth (CAGR) of 11.6 per cent. This growth is predominantly being fuelled by the digital segment with increasing consumption of content over the mobile Internet.

This is an analysis that attempts to explain how digitalization is impacting the demand for creative and technical skilled labour, the supply of such labour, and the probable changes in employment and income in Indian Media and Entertainment sector.

To begin with, let us understand what is driving changes in the demand for skilled labour in the Media and Entertainment sector. Therefore, let us first check the trend in how Media and Entertainment is being consumed in the country.

According to a recent PWC report, OTT video revenue is growing rapidly at a CAGR of 22.6% and, therefore, India will move into the top 10 in global ranking by 2022. In the past 24 months, nearly 30 OTT platforms have come alive, including honchos such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, ALTBalaji,  Hotstar and SonyLIV. The international and regional subscription Video on Demand (SVoD) platforms is growing with over 70% of revenue in 2017 attributable substantially to subscription services. According to the report, this trend will grow to 79.4% of total market revenue expected from SVoD by 2022.

On the other hand, mobile video advertising is the fastest-growing sub-segment of India’s Internet advertising market, expected to rise at 32.8% CAGR by 2022. The number of high-speed mobile Internet connections are expected to increase by 2.2 billion globally by 2022, expanding the market for mobile content consumption at faster speeds leading to a situation where mobile will become consumers’ primary means of accessing content, making it an increasingly important focus for advertisers. Spoilt for choice, with a wide variety of content and original programming, consumers tend to access and choose whatever is of interest to them, anytime and anywhere they desire to do so. With the diversity of audience tastes, audiences are fragmenting to levels not seen before. As a result of this development established Media and Entertainment platforms are in competition to attract and retain audience.

Such a phenomenon is giving rise to competition among producers to create quality content. Not just quality content but also niche content. So, how does the changing Media and Entertainment consumption patterns impact the demand for skilled labour in the Media and Entertainment sector? The production of niche-audience content results in more differentiated content production, even if intended for small audiences, increasing the number of jobs or job roles. However, this content, more often than not has a shorter lifecycle, which means that it supports the gig economy. Needless to say that competition for audiences increases demand for budget intensive content, which increases the demand for wages of top technical performers who deliver superb content.

Digital content and broad band Internet access have lowered the barriers to entry into the Media and Entertainment sector. Earlier, access to audience was totally controlled by television networks and cinema screen owners. Now it is easy both for the producers and the creative and technical talent to reach audiences directly and it is possible to monetize creative and technical work. According to an IBEF report, the industry provided employment to 3.5 to 4 million in 2017. More artists, creatives in general and technology geeks, can aspire to participate in the Media and Entertainment Sector leading to a situation of increasing the supply of skilled labour in the sector.

However the new job opportunities in digital media are varied in nature . Many of these job opportunities are  in low-budget productions with smaller audiences. There is another development that is interesting for creatives and technologists. There is a spurt in work done for original programming distributed on streaming services such as Amazon and Netflix that is almost at par with the higher budget content for traditional television networks. While digital video content has been around for sometime but it is a recent development that this kind of content is being produced at budget levels comparable to television channels.

Increasing competition from streaming platforms is strengthening the resolve of traditional television channels to produce and demand more original programming in order to retain viewers and subscribers. This in turn is  leading to an increase in job opportunities   in traditional television  channels due  to competition from the digital warriors  such as Amazon and Netflix muscling entering  the media and entertainment slugfest.

However, the impact of digital platforms on talent income is varied. New digital platforms are opening the possibility of building and distributing content library. This is increasing aggregate earnings, as talent is now being compensated with new residuals streams. However, the competition among producers is increasingly contributing to a situation of stronger bidding and higher compensation for “star” talent as the race intensifies with the media and entertainment market becoming more crowded. Many producers will invest heavily to ride  on the popularity of celebrities and to pull ahead of the pack.

While the above scenario is imminent , it might lead to  a downward spiral in general for average  talent income. With more accessible talent, increased competition for jobs may translate into lower earnings for talent that is yet to garner recognition and reputation. On the one hand, as content is likely to have a shorter shelf life, the average payment per job may tend to be lower leading to a situation of a “Winner-Take-All” talent market. Talent with reputation for quality and delivery will be able to earn even more, while majority of skilled workforce might receive little-to- negative increases in their earnings. Many might participate in the gig economy but few will pull ahead with top earnings.

The gig economy fuelled and sustained by digitalization has implications for both creative and technology based talent.One clear benefit  is an increase in the  number of jobs available to a young and  aspiring workforce; another is the increase in aggregate compensation in the media and entertainment sector. For well recognised and reputed talent  it might yield even greater compensation. However, these changes might bring significant downsides for engaged talent as well. Professional talent, both creative and technical, on an individual basis might witness swings in  income and compensation at large will  vary from year to year, resulting from increased competition . This ultimately means that developing a reputation and a track record of performance might turn out to be the only path to maintaining and sustaining a career in the media and entertainment sector. There is an emerging opportunity for collaboration between content technology companies, budding talent demonstrating hunger for learning and producers of content who are planning to adopt shared data centric environments and end to end digital acquisition, management and distribution strategies. Creatives and technology professionals can focus and specialize in helping the content players streamline their production workflows and maximize their return on investment.

India Goes Down to 53rd Position in Netflix Speed Test

admin   August 15, 2018

India has been ranked 53 in the Netflix ISP Speed Index in July 2018, down by four spots. The monthly study is a measure of primetime Netflix performance on a particular ISP. While Philippines rose five spots to 49th, Malaysia dropped six spots to 27th.

Netflix ISP Speed Index, a monthly update on which Internet Service Providers (ISPs) provide the best primetime Netflix streaming experience, has rated India at 53rd place in July, down from four places when compared to June.

South Korea’s LG U+ saw the biggest speed jump on the index. Its speed gained by 0.37 Megabits per second (Mbps), bringing its average monthly speed to 3.23 Mbps, up from 2.86 Mbps in June.

Other notable speed gains include Spain’s Telefonica-Movistar gaining to an average monthly speed of 3.26 Mbps (from 2.93 Mbps last month), and Taiwan’s Taiwan Broadband gaining to an average monthly speed of 3.70 Mbps (up from 3.40 Mbps last month).

In the losses category, Biznet in Indonesia experienced a speed decrease of 0.30 Mbps, bringing its monthly average down to 2.99 Mbps (from 3.29 Mbps in June). Malaysia’s Telekom Malaysia Berhad saw speeds slow to a 3.24 Mbps monthly average (from 3.46 Mbps the month prior).

Moves in the country rankings this month include Philippines rising five spots to 49th, Malaysia dropping six spots to 27th and India falling four spots to 53rd.

The Netflix ISP Speed Index is a measure of primetime Netflix performance on a particular ISP and not a measure of overall performance for other services/data that may travel across the specific ISP network. Faster Netflix performance generally means better picture quality, quicker start times and fewer interruptions.

OTT Market: Global Subscription, Advertisment Revenue to Reach $559bn

admin   August 15, 2018

Even as India witnessing a boom in OTT market thanks to players such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, Eros Now among others, a latest report has predicted that global consumer and advertising spend on TV and video will grow from $490B in 2017 to $559B in 2022, an increase of $69B.

Spend on OTT video will account for 90 per cent of this growth, according to Strategy Analytics’ Television & Media Strategies (TMS) report, ‘TV’s Transformation: A Unified TV and Video Market Perspective.’

It said consumer spend and digital video ad revenue from OTT video services such as YouTube, Facebook, iTunes, Google Play, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, DirecTV Now, NOW TV, Maxdome, iflix, and other online video services will double over the forecast period, reaching $123B in 2022.

“OTT TV and video services will be the driving force behind future revenue,” according to Michael Goodman, Director, Television & Media Strategies, “however, traditional TV and video services should not despair too much, as they will continue to account for the majority of consumer and advertising spend for the foreseeable future.”

By 2022, consumer and advertising spend on traditional TV and video products and services globally will be over $435B, an increase of $7B from 2017, and account for nearly 78% of all TV and video revenue.

It also said that in 2022, North America will continue to be the largest TV and video market; accounting for 38.7% of global consumer and advertising spend on TV and video.

IPTV will buck the cord cutting trend in Western Europe. While cable (net loss of €987M), pay satellite (net loss of €187M), and pay DTT (net loss of €125M) will all see revenues decline over the next five years, IPTV will reach €9.9B in 2022, an increase of €1.5B.

In 2022, the Asia Pacific region will account for 23.4%% of global consumer and advertising spend on TV and video. Unlike North America and Western Europe, where consumer spend on legacy pay TV services are flat or declining, driven largely by China and India, consumer spend on legacy pay TV services will continue to see robust growth.

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Facebook ‘Acqui-Hires’ Vidpresso

admin   August 15, 2018

In a bid to make video interactive, full of conversation with broadcasters and fellow viewers, Facebook acqui-hired Vidpresso, buying its seven-person team and its technology but not the company itself.

According to a TechCrunch report, financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Vidpresso had raised a $120,00 in seed capital from Y Combinator in 2014, plus some angel funding. By 2016, it was telling hiring prospects that it was profitable, but also that, “We will not be selling the company unless some insane whatsapp like thing happened. We’re building a forever biz, not a flip.” So either Vidpresso lowered its bar for an exit or Facebook made coming aboard worth its while, added the report.

The six-year-old Utah startup works with TV broadcasters and content publishers to make their online videos more interactive with on-screen social media polling and comments, graphics and live broadcasting integrated with Facebook, YouTube, Periscope and more.

A post from Vidpresso team read: “Wow. We’re really excited to share we’re joining Facebook effective today. We will continue to help creators, publishers, and broadcasters create great live experiences, and focus on what we’re best known for: Enabling world-class interactive streams on Facebook Live. Our customers who currently use the product will continue to be able to do so following our transition to Facebook.

Way back in 2012 we founded Vidpresso with a simple vision: To make video more like HTML—easier to author, easier to change, and customized per person. We’ve had a lot of false starts along the way, first offering tools to help synchronize presentations with slides, then offering tools to help broadcasters put social media on TV. We finally landed on helping create high quality broadcasts back on social media, but we still haven’t realized the full vision yet.

That’s why we’re joining Facebook. This gives us the best opportunity to accelerate our vision and offer a simple way for creators, publishers, and broadcasters to use social media in live video at a high quality level. We’ve always wanted to build tools for everyone to create interactive live video experiences.

By joining Facebook we’ll be able to offer our tools to a much broader audience than just our A-list publishing partners. Eventually, it’ll allow us to put these tools in the hands of creators, so they can focus on their content, and have it look great, without spending lots of time or money to do so.”

National Media & Entertainment Policy is the Need of the Hour: Amit Khanna

admin   August 15, 2018

As India celebrates its 72nd Independence Day, the Media and Entertainment sector is on the cusp of a major transformation despite grappling with seven decades of government apathy. However, the future growth of this sector calls for major interventions not only on the policy front but also on providing the right creative environment and good financial and regulatory ecosystem to give this sunrise sector a shot in the arm.

The future of India’s Media and Entertainment sector lies in digital space. However, following seven decades of apathy faced by the sector it has been left grappling with multitude of challenges including outdated laws and ill-equipped institutions, says Media and Entertainment industry veteran and former chairman of Reliance Entertainment Amit Khanna, who suggests several future course of actions that can be taken by the government to help the sector realise its full potential.

“The future lies in the Digital space. The present debate about fake news, bots and trolling is a phase which is about to run its course within the next few years. With AI, curation and customization, news and information will be focused and personalized,” wrote Khanna recently in a column for Business World that traces the trajectory of the Indian Media and Entertainment sector since India’s Independence.

“India is the only major country in the world without a broadcast regulator. An ill-equipped Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has been trying to handle the important and vital sector of Broadcasting and New Media on an ad hoc basis even as India becomes a digital nation. We need a Convergence Commission on the lines of FCC or OFCOM to oversee the new Digital world of Content, platforms, access, and devices. This should have Industry experts and others with domain knowledge and not retired and serving bureaucrats or telecom officers,” he says.

Khanna also put his views strongly on the “inherent conflict in the role of Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and Ministry of Telecommunications & Information Technology”.

“Besides the HRD Ministry handles IPR (Copyright) and Culture Ministry does its sideshow. It’s time we have one omnibus Ministry handling all subjects relating to Media & Entertainment,” he demands.

The industry veteran does not mince his words when he questions the efficacy of government’s efforts in ‘trying to monitor the news’ in an increasingly connected world. “Why is the Government wasting so much energy trying to monitor the news? It’s like trying to control the vast expanse of interstellar space,” he observes.

“We must have a group of experts and not Ministers and bureaucrats working on the future of our web-based content and delivery. Unfortunately, we have half-baked self-styled IT cells headed by vague people.”

Saying that digitization is a force multiplier, he also praises the current government’s initiative ‘I support Aadhaar’. “The obsession with privacy will soon be forgotten as in the world the tools to safeguard whatever information we want to conceal will be built in the websites and applications themselves. The rest, in any case, is in the public domain,” says Khanna, who was the founder chairman of Reliance Entertainment.

He counts himself amongst those who do not “believe (that) our freedom of expression is in peril”.

“The fact is there is a political realignment and there is a paradigm shift in the Industry structure which is causing disquiet. That said, the government should also stop trying to control the media. If the Prime Minister (Mr Narendra Modi) is correctly briefed on the potential of this Industry, things can change,” says Khanna as he pins his hopes on government interventions to propel Media and Entertainment industry’s growth.

“I agree that for too long our cultural elite and institutions have been in the stranglehold of a chosen few with a particular point of view,” says the industry veteran.

Speaking on the role played by successive governments in the growth of M&E Sector since Independence, Khanna says, “The first Government under Pandit Nehru ignored Entertainment, except for legislating a new Censorship Act in 1952, which actually carried on the legacy of Colonial British rulers. Nehru ‘s Government did, however, pass the Indian Copyright Act in 1957 ushering in the first modern Intellectual Property Regime.”

He, however, also praises the First Prime Minister of India for doing “excellent work in setting up the three Academies-Lalit Kala, Sangeet Natak, and Sahitya — which did yeomen work in supporting Culture in the early years of Independence”.

He also raises questions on the seriousness of harnessing India’s soft power through the M&E sector. “Let’s not forget, the global Media & Entertainment is a USD 2 trillion Industry while in India we are struggling to reach even USD 30 billion! The G20 countries have a Media & Entertainment sector averaging 3-5 % of GDP while India is at 1%. So much for soft power and knowledge economy.”

“The Prime Minister has reformed many sectors of our economy and industry then why not Media & Entertainment? A nation of 1.3 billion people wants options to be informed and entertained in Digital India,” says Khanna, who wishes that “before we celebrate our 75th anniversary of Independence we had a National Media & Entertainment policy framework, which takes into account the rapidly changing world. This is too important a sector to be neglected.”

Read Complete Business World column here

Reliance Industries Completes 5 per cent Acquisition in Eros International

admin   August 7, 2018

Eros International PLC, a leading global company in the Indian film entertainment industry, has announced that following customary approval processes, the sale of a 5 per cent stake in Eros to Reliance Industries Limited, previously announced on February 20, 2018, has been completed.

Reliance Industries, a statement from Eros International said, has acquired 3,111,088 newly issued A ordinary shares in Eros which represents 5.0% of Eros’ current issued and outstanding ordinary share capital on a pro forma basis. The purchase price was $15.00 per share, which represents a total cash consideration of $46.6 million.

Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor to Eros International Plc in this transaction, it added.

Reliance Industries is India’s largest private sector company, with a consolidated turnover of RS 430,731 crore (USD 63.3 billion) and net profit of Rs 36,075 crore (USD 5.3 billion) for the year ended March 31, 2018.

In February this year, RIL, through a subsidiary, has agreed to subscribe to a 5 per cent equity stake in Eros
Furthermore, RIL and Eros International Media Limited announced that they have agreed to partner in India to jointly produce and consolidate content from across India. The parties will equally invest up to Rs 1,000 crores in aggregate (approximately USD150 million) to produce and acquire Indian films and digital originals across all languages.

In addition, it was announced that Jyoti Deshpande, Group CEO and MD of Eros will be stepping down from her Executive role after more than 17 years in Eros and move on to head the Media and Entertainment business at RIL as President of the Chairman’s Office.

In her new role at RIL, Jyoti Deshpande will lead the company’s initiatives in Media and Entertainment to organically build and grow businesses around the content ecosystem such as Broadcasting, Films, Sports, Music, Digital, Gaming, Animation etc., as well as integrate RIL’s existing media investments such as Viacom and Balaji Telefilms with a view to build, scale and consolidate the fragmented USD 20 billion Indian M&E sector.

The Stolen Princess set for Release on Aug 24

admin   August 6, 2018

The Stolen Princess: Ruslan and Ludmila is a family oriented animation film which is an engaging fairy tale involving captivating adventures, fascinating original characters and interesting subplots. It will release in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu languages across India.The film is presented & distributed by Ultra Media and Entertainment Group.

The Stolen Princess, a magical, adventurous family centric animation film, is slated to hit the screens on 24 August, in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu languages across India.

According to its makers, it is a family oriented animation film which is an engaging fairy tale involving captivating adventures, fascinating original characters and interesting subplots.

The main theme of the film is the triumph of the good over evil and a charming love story entwined in it. “The film is designed to induce interest levels of children, teenagers & youth. The multifaceted nature of the story and its arresting visuals makes it an interesting family watch,” they said in a release. The film is presented & distributed by Ultra Media and Entertainment Group.

Directed by Oleg Malamuzh, this wonderful story happened in the age of valiant knights, beautiful princesses, and battling sorcerers. Ruslan, a wandering artist dreaming to become a knight meets beautiful Mila and falls in love with her, he doesn’t even suspects that she is the King’s daughter. However, the lovers’ happiness wasn’t meant to last too long. Ch?rnomor, the evil sorcerer, appears in a magical vortex and stoles Mila right before Ruslan’s eyes to transform her power of love into his own magical power. Without further ado, Ruslan sets out on a chase after the stolen princess to overcome all obstacles and to prove that real love is stronger than magic.


admin   August 6, 2018

Casbaa will henceforth be known as the Asia Video Industry Association (AVIA) and have a new mandate to represent the interests of companies across the broader video industry.

At an Extraordinary General Meeting of members on Monday (August 6), Casbaa overwhelmingly approved the adoption
of a new constitution and new name.

According to a statement, the principal objective of AVIA is to make the video industry and ecosystem in Asia Pacific stronger and healthier.

“Specifically, the Association will be focused on three main goals: to be the interlocutor for the video industry with governments across the Asia Pacific region; to be dedicated to reducing video piracy and creating a more sustainable business environment within which established and new video companies can innovate and grow; and to be a leading source of insight into the video industry through
publications and reports as well as seminars and conferences,” it said.

Speaking about the changes, Louis Boswell, the CEO of AVIA said, “As an industry Association we need to reach out to all parts of the video ecosystem and we need to
embrace change. Our role must be to try and create a better environment for our members to grow their businesses and at the same time provide insight into how the industry is changing”.

As part of the change, AVIA will actively seek to broaden its membership and interests it represents to include video on demand companies and telcos for whom video is playing an increasingly important role. On the back of these changes two new companies have joined AVIA: Toolbox, the leading provider of ‘TV everywhere’ services in Latin America that is now reaching out to Asia; and the popular streaming service Netflix.