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India and Vietnam to Collaborate in Digital Media

admin   January 11, 2022

India and Vietnam has signed a Letter of Intent to collaborate in the field of digital media, paving the way for further strengthening the partnership between the two countries.

2022 marks fifty years of diplomatic relations between the two countries, the ministry said.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Manh Hung signed the document (On December 16, 2021) that envisages the sharing of information and experience in establishing policies and regulatory frameworks on digital media and social networks.

The LoI also envisages conducting capacity building and training programmes for media professionals and officials in the two countries, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said in a statement.

“The Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting emphasized that the deep relationship between India and Vietnam was further strengthened with the recent visits of the President and the Prime Minister of India to Vietnam, and meeting would shape the bilateral cooperation in the field of new technologies and challenges, such as the ‘infodemic’, which all countries are grappling with during the COVID-19 pandemic,” as stated in the press release issued by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.

Anurag Thakur informed Vietnam’s Minister of Information and Communication about the Digital Media Ethics Code being implemented by the Government of India since February 2021.

Hung invited Thakur to Vietnam and talked about enabling journalists of both countries to access information about the socio-economic developments in each other’s nations for wider dissemination of success stories and stronger people-to-people ties.


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India, the Window of Opportunity

admin   June 15, 2021

The policies of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, are fully geared towards realising the complete potential of the M&E sector by forging global partnerships and providing an enabling environment by lowering market barriers and propelling growth

In the rapidly changing global media and entertainment landscape, India has emerged as a window of opportunity to position itself as a hub for audiovisual services for the rest of the world. Media and Entertainment is one of the champion sectors supported by the Government of India. The incentives for the audiovisual services that closely match the sops given by various other nations are already finalised by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. They are waiting for the appropriate time to announce incentives that is set to handhold industry in the aftermath of Covid-19 pandemic.

India has probably one of the most liberal investment regimes in the media and entertainment, information and communication sector amongst the emerging economies with a conducive foreign direct investment (FDI) environment and ease of doing business.

Digitization and the growth of the internet are reducing many barriers to market entry and creating opportunities for smaller companies’ offering skills and services in new forms of content creation for various platforms.

In the current scenario, the Indian animation (IPs included) and VFX Services have gained a lot of traction among the international producers and production houses. In the following pages we have curated 15 animation co-production projects seeking partners at Annecy/MIFA 2021.

In the aftermath of coronavirus pandemic, Indian media, entertainment and technology services are witnessing new growth opportunities on the back of growing offshore services domain, especially in animation, VFX, gaming, AR/VR and digital media, among others.

Many companies have created top-end studio facilities in India that serve as single windows to fulfil the needs of the M&E industry (Technicolour India, Deluxe). Their international business model offers local and remote clients the opportunity to produce and co-produce and distribute content anywhere around the world.

Media & Entertainment sector has been supported by the Government of India as one of the champion sectors with immense potential of growth both within and outside the country. Media and Entertainment is also among the sectors that clearly has made an impact of Make in India, Show the World. For services it is Make in India, Serve the World.

The role of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting is to facilitate the industry to create jobs and growth for the sector. The government’s efforts are driven towards creation of forums and forge partnerships to keep the momentum going.

Content produced for Indian media sectors holds tremendous potential for global consumption. With a significant diaspora population residing overseas, Indian content is a key tool for these communities to connect with their cultural roots.

The Indian film industry is fairly unique in the world. The country, along with America and China, is among the few that can sustain their industry domestically. You can make a film just for India, or even one region within India. Once when the Government gives green signal to open theatres there are over 83 films waiting to be released in India. OTT players like Amazon Prime, Netflix, Disney + Hostar, ZEE5 have brought in a transformation in expanding Indian content reach to over 100 territories across the world.

CO-PRODUCTION

India has audio visual co-production treaties with over 15 countries — Bangladesh, Canada, China, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Spain, UK & Northern Ireland, Bangladesh, Russia. It is now possible for filmmakers of different countries to come together and make films under bilateral co–production agreements. Co-productions under these agreements are more beneficial to filmmakers than a purely commercial partnership between two individuals or entities. New markets and audiences would be available for the product, especially if collaborations and partnerships are between nationals of different countries.

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting is currently finalising incentives for co-production, filming under the champion sector scheme. In addition to films, TV Series, Web Series, Animation will be also be included in the co-production projects.

AUGMENTED REALITY

The Augmented and Virtual Reality, the two spectrums of immersive technology, will form the next frontier of growth for the M&E industry. For India, AR/VR can open up new creative avenues. According to a report, the Indian AR/VR market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 76 percent over the next five years, fuelled by demand from business and consumer sectors. The past few years have witnessed the emergence of over 200 AR/VR start-ups in the country. Bengaluru and Hyderabad take the lead, attracting a big chunk of these start-ups, followed by Delhi and Mumbai. Among states, Karnataka and Telengana are actively promoting AR/VR startups by providing incubation, mentoring, idea validation by experts, opportunities to deploy pilots with various departments, along with fund support for eligible ones. This was the major takeaway at the recently concluded Global AVGC Summit FX 2020 organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry.

VIDEO GAMES

Dinesh Gupta, Director and Co-Founder at Sacom in one of the the recent Pickle columns mentioned massive growth opportunities in video gaming. Statista’s Global Digital Market Outlook pegs the digital media market at US$ 172,502mn in 2020 with a 9.8% year-on-year growth projection. This forecast was adjusted for expected global impact of Covid-19 pandemic. Video Games share with a projected market volume of US$ 92,633 mn and 11.41% growth over previous year dominates the digital media market with a close to 54% worldwide share. This makes the Video Games industry much bigger than Video-on-Demand, ePublishing and Digital Music put together. Majority of the revenues for video gaming are contributed by mobile gaming which is likely to contribute as much as 60% in 2020.


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)

SPECIAL ADDRESS: Uday Shankar, CII BIG PICTURE SUMMIT 2012

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.

 


Ventana Sur Confernce with Storytelling at its Core

admin   November 20, 2020

With the main motive being exchanging of ideas and strengthen the film community, the 12th edition of the Ventana Sur will organise as many as 50 conferences.

The conferences will address the new trends in storytelling in the face of the restructuring of the industry with the emergence of various digital platforms that promote new roles for authors and new trends in content creation.

Digital platforms are gaining momentum due to the momentum and it has a great impact on the Latin America and Europe.

Amazon Prime Video, one of the leading OTTs in the global market, has achieved an interesting positioning in Latin America based on original productions and strategic alliances. For its part, Netflix, the global giant SVOD, is working on two fronts to continue growing: complications for production and the incentive for consumption, a specific paradox that arises in a pandemic.

Co-productions have intensified, and stories based on real events, thrillers, travel shows, kids and factual stories are growing. In addition, the “Covid-proof” formats in the entertainment world are gaining relevance. How is the return to production in Covid’s time and what are the new business models and future perspectives of the audiovisual markets? The particularities of four major markets in the world: America, Europe, the Middle East and the Far East.

Funding around the world: we are presenting an overview of the numerous funding opportunities from research conducted by Projeto Paradiso, Brazilian Content and Cinema do Brasil together with LatAm cinema. We will look at institutional innovations in the framework provided by Covid-19 and new proposals linked to current public policies.

The section of panels, included in the category of animation, challenges us with a series of ideas and strategies related to the development of characters as crucial elements of the narrative. After all, a powerful story needs strong, multi-faceted characters who are kind to the audience. In this sense, Masha and The Bear, the Russian series that represents a success story and its own creators participate in Ventana Sur, where they tell us first-hand how the process of development and realization of the project went. The same is true of Rick and Morty, the American animated television series.

Another great axis has to do with the inclusion of women and non-binaries in an industry that is going through falling mandates and structures. It is about unmasking harassment and bullying, hearing the voices and giving prominence to Latin American collectives that, through different actions, seek to generate changes to safeguard the integrity and ensure the equality of female and male workers. That is why we are investigating the protocols to change the work culture and exchange perspectives, strategies and challenges

This has opened a new scope in the audiovisual content consumption as the digital media has become a battleground of the giants.

With all these changes it is become imminent that a discussion on these developments should be held to get a clear picture of the future.

These conferences will also create opportunities to develop the maximum potential, radicalize filmmaking from its storytelling and aesthetic proposals. This will ensure that the audience get a far more better experience.

 

 


Rightstrade to Expand Global Reach Sponsor of AFM® 2020 Online

admin   September 21, 2020

The company will offer a complimentary trial subscription for the market’s sales and production company exhibitors providing them the opportunity to use the RightsTrade platform and its tools for AFM 2020 and through the end of the year

The American Film Market has announced that RightsTrade, the film and TV industry’s online sales platform, has signed on as a Premier Sponsor of AFM 2020 Online. This year’s market will take place wholly online over five days, Monday, November 9 – Friday, November 13.

RightsTrade is an online marketplace for film, television and digital media distribution rights. By connecting distributors with content owners, RightsTrade’s global marketplace makes it easier, faster and more costefficient for buyers and sellers to license content rights.

RightsTrade’s presence at AFM 2020 Online is designed to further expand its footprint and give back to the industry. The company will offer a complimentary trial subscription for the market’s sales and production company exhibitors providing them the opportunity to use the RightsTrade platform and its tools for AFM 2020 and through the end of the year.

The trial gives companies the ability to experience RightsTrade’s core set of functionality including integrated video conferencing with video asset streaming within calls, calendaring, messaging, and a self-serve content hub where each seller can list and manage their market titles including metadata, key art, video assets and more.

In addition, the main exhibit hub for sales companies on the AFM 2020 Online platform will be called the Industry Offices presented by RightsTrade. It will showcase the online booths for hundreds of sales, production and distribution companies, and international organizations.

Bill Lischak, recently appointed CEO of RightsTrade said, “The AFM is one of the crown jewels of film markets and we couldn’t be more pleased to support the industry at this year’s event. In 2020, we’ve turned our focus towards expanding our online platform capabilities to serve an evergrowing need for online markets and to give back to those in the content business. We look forward to further expanding our reach and unique offering via the AFM.”

Jonathan Wolf, AFM Managing Director said, “We look forward to connecting the world’s sales companies with the RightsTrade platform as a valuable resource for further enhancing their sales and efforts.”

RightsTrade’s leadership team focuses on developing commercial and backend solutions for leading film and television companies, with decades of experience implementing back-end and front-end solutions for more than 50 leading media and entertainment companies.

RightsTrade has recently been providing “virtual market” functionality to the industry, including having built and powered FILMART Online’s market platform, along with meeting and screening tools for the NATPE International Budapest market.


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Finance Minister Proposes FDI Norm Relaxation in Media

admin   July 9, 2019

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has proposed to further relax norms and open up foreign direct investment (FDI) in Media and AVGC (Animation, Visual effects, Gaming and Comics) sector in her maiden budget speech on Friday.

“I propose to further consolidate, the gains in order to make India more attractive FDI destination. The government will examine suggestions of further opening up of FDI in media, AVGC (Animation, Visual effects, Gaming and Comics) in consultation with stakeholders,” she said.

Already India is one the most liberal media markets in the world in foreign direct investment (FDI) for global companies to engage in business.

Currently, the government allows 26% FDI in publishing of newspapers and periodicals involved with news and current affairs through the approval route and 49% FDI in news channels.

While no rules have been framed for FDI in news and current affairs in digital media in India, indications are that government may spell out norms for permitting 26% or 49% for Streaming of news & current affairs through digital media.

It is not clear on what’s to come in FDI in AVGC (Animation, Visual effects, Gaming and Comics sector. The AVGC sector already enjoys 100 per cent FDI, although no rules have been forumlated for this sector.

MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT SECTOR: CURRENT FDI NORMS

  • FDI in all film-related activities such as film financing, production, distribution, exhibition, marketing etc. is permitted up to 100% for all under the automatic route
  • 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in the advertising sector through the automatic route
  • FDI up to 100% now permissible in broadcasting carriage services outlined in FDI Policy, viz., teleports, DTH, Cable Networks, Mobile TV and Headend-In-The-Sky – FDI up to 49% permissible under automatic route and above 49% under Government approval route
  • FDI up to 100% permissible under automatic route in case of up-linking of non-news and current affairs TV channels and down-linking of TV channels
  • FDI up to 100% is permitted in publishing/printing scientific and technical magazines, periodicals and journals
  • 100% FDI for General Entertainment Channels
  • FDI up to 49% permissible under Government route in case of terrestrial broadcasting FM (FM radio), up-linking of ‘news and current affairs’ TV channels
  • In the news and current affairs category, such as newspapers, FDI has been allowed up to 26% subject to certain conditions
  • Companies would require government approval for 49% FDI in news channels. But 100% foreign investment in non-news channels or entertainment broadcasters will be allowed through the automatic route