Soumitra Ranade

From Ajanta Frescoes to Digital Screens

admin   June 15, 2021

What we create today as IP should not only reflect our culture, but it should also influence and construct it. It is up to us, the creators, to choose the way forward.

By Soumitra Ranade
Creative Head & CEO
Paperboat DesignStudios

Intellectual Property (IP) is the talk of the town today. Infact it has been so for the last few years and quite understandably so. The coming of new-age technologies and their stupendous growth have opened up entirely new possibilities for all stakeholders, be it the government and their agencies, distributors, exhibitors, satellite channels, OTT platforms and other key participants in this continually expanding arena.

But most importantly, what does it mean for the creators themselves! IPs we create is an important aspect of our art and culture. We as a nation are known for our extraordinary art in the form of sculpture, painting, architecture, literature, cinema, music, etc.

It is the murals at Ajanta, sculptures at Kailash temple, Kangra miniatures, Mughal architecture, Hindustani and the Carnatic music, and so many other vibrant renditions in various art forms that define us as a nation, as a culture.

We are after all, what we create and we are after all what we like to see. What we create today as IP should not only reflect our culture, but it should also influence and construct it. It is up to us, the creators, to choose the way forward. What kind of a nation do we want to build? How do we want the rest of the world to see us?

There are three fundamental entities that contribute towards making of any IP: the funders, the creative personnel and the audiences.

These three could sometimes have different interests and it is for all three to strike a balance so that the IPs we create have high standards and that these standards keep increasing. A synergy between the three is vital for us to build, promote and nurture creativity and innovation.

Throughout history whenever there was complete synergy between the three, a high level of art was achieved; from as diverse periods as the Renaissance or the Chola period. Whenever there have been gaps between the three, the art of that period has suffered.

For a country that has such an enormous treasure of stories; of images and sounds, of colors and textures, of melodies and rhythms, very few Indian IPs have crossed the shores and gone global. Many have tried for several years and yet only a few have succeeded. What makes our IPs mostly confined within our borders?

What we create here in our country – not just as a geographical unit but as a composite culture, must I feel, reflect our stories, our dreams, our images and our sounds.

Our IPs need to be rooted in our land, in its diverse fragrances and its distinct shades. We must tell our extraordinary stories through our extraordinary audiovisual traditions. For this to happen, we first need to be proud of the immense wealth that we have. Instead of looking constantly towards the west, we must look within ourselves, within our own souls and that’s where the real Indian IPs exist.

Only those artists who have truly been rooted in the culture of our land have gone global in the real sense of the word, be it Satyajit Ray, Pt. Ravi Shankar or M.F.Hussain amongst others. It is always the most local that eventually becomes global; there are enough examples from all over the world to substantiate this. Even Superman, probably one of the most popular global icons has perhaps the most American soul. The Disney collection and the Manga art and animation are some of the other examples that come immediately to mind.

In recent times, the two animation films from India—Goopi Gawaiyaa Bagha Bajaiyaa and Bombay Rose—have crossed the boarders and have gone international in a big way. Both these films are rooted in the Indian aesthetic not only thematically but also stylistically.

There is however a catch here! If we go back to our roots without innovation, we will only be repeating ourselves. If we render the same stories in the same ol’ ways we will become irrelevant for the newer generations. We need to rethink and reinterpret. While we do this, we must bring in that edge, that zeitgeist of our times, the spirit of our era.

This is where I think the government can play a key role. The Services Exports Promotion Council, set up by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India, is a great initiative in this direction. The government stands alone, away from the other three entities and has the power and capital to give direction to things to come and I anticipate exciting times ahead.

We can’t repaint the Ajanta frescoes all over again. There’s no point in doing that or even attempting to do that. But ignoring them would only be a colossal tragedy. What we must do is to reimagine Ajanta that will be represented in a form that is modern. That is contemporary.

And we must be on our toes because who knows as early as tomorrow morning the medium might change. Today it’s the digital screen but tomorrow it may be something else. One thing however will remain constant, always, for eternity – the Bodhisattva Padmapani!

We must embrace it.

Bobby Bedi

Intellectual Property in India is Coming of Age

admin   June 15, 2021

India has become a creator of IP and this has led to the realisation that we need to protect our Intellectual Property. Laws have been changed and tweaked to match the new reality and today it is difficult to violate copyrights

By Bobby Bedi
CEO & Producer, Contentflow Studios

India is a relatively new entrant in the IPR game. Just over two decades ago, India believed that
IPR should be free. I remember an Indian diplomat talking at a WIPO event in Geneva and she was rabidly opposed to the protection of IPR.

It was a time when we felt that as a developing nation, India should not have to pay royalties for software; new medicines and expensive textbooks. Apart from software, medicines and books, there was rampant theft of international music and sometimes international films too. But no one cared. Some years ago, we made a film called Mango which was based on a Korean story called Couples. We paid substantial royalties for the rights. However, it didn’t help because someone else copied it first and released their film. We sued and got the money, but the film could not find a release.

Fortunately, such conundrum is now a thing of the past and our IT industry is the catalyzing force behind this change.

India has become a creator of IP and this has led to the realisation that we need to protect our Intellectual Property. Laws have been changed and tweaked to match the new reality and today it is difficult to violate copyrights.

I suppose that it is natural that your desire to protect your property is driven by the fact that you now own property.

The entertainment sector, too, has witnessed a major change in the way it perceives IP. This has
been driven by two factors.

Firstly, the Western world has realized that India is a much larger market for films than it was. This growth has been driven by the dubbing of big Hollywood films into local languages. The big ones now compete with the biggest of Bollywood. This has propelled the American studios to tie up with big Indian producers to attack piracy at all levels.

Secondly, for the first time India is realizing the international value of its property. This has been
driven by the advent of the streamers or Apps, as we call them. Netflix, Amazon and the studios have finally brought in international quality to India. This has affected the Indian producer in two
ways—they may either compete or perish—and many are perishing.

Fortunately, some are competing too. They have also completely changed the budgetary landscape of Indian content. Series that were made for hundreds of thousands of rupees are now being made for tens of millions. All those participating in the creation of IP—writers, actors, directors and producers—are benefiting. Finally, as our IP is being protected we are creating high quality, innovative content that the world is likely to consume. That is a great change.

It would seem that this is becoming a great story with a happy ending. But sadly, this is not entirely true. This story has a serious twist in the tail. A danger lurks, and it lurks in the space of Intellectual Property Creation.

Very briefly, I want to talk about the nature of property, real or intellectual. A film or show is no
different from a piece of real estate. It has a capital value and it has a revenue generating capability. So far, we lived of the revenue generating capability of our virtual assets. Our films and shows made money for us at release and then gave us a steady stream of revenue from various re-sales thereafter. I have lived off the licensing revenues of my films for decades.

Today’s buyer is much more inclined to purchase your property outright. This means money up
front but nothing thereafter. It’s a good recipe for good times but sadly, good times don’t last forever.

Now that our intellectual property has value, someone else gets to own it.

As we mature as producers, we will have to find sustainable hybrids wherein we get to keep some
of our IP and with it, future earnings from our content. Some people with financial strength are
trying out models where they get to retain their IP, but for most it is a one way street.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Omar Kaczmarczyk and Hilary Clay Hicks

Understanding IP Asset Management in 21st Century

admin   June 15, 2021

Understanding Intellectual Property Asset Management begins as “Trans Media”, wherein multiple media products are manifested as individual brands that cross promote each other while providing multiple income streams.

By Omar Kaczmarczyk
Motion Picture Producer, Sharecroppers Media
By Hilary Clay Hicks
Trans-Media Producer, Sharecroppers Media

Indian motion pictures are increasingly popular around the world. Movies either made in India or featuring Indian characters have been doing excellently at the box office. To be competitive, movies from the subcontinent need to be marketed using the latest and most effective marketing systems—and that means online.

Today, the potential market for any idea or Intellectual Property is almost unlimited and easier to reach than at any time in history.

For example, the potential global motion picture market has never been larger. The marketing methods, distribution systems, and media of the past are no longer effective. In just a few years into this millennium, systems for the development of entertainment media have taken a quantum leap thanks to brilliant digital applications that serve to globally aggregate audiences online.

Targeted audiences can now be contacted with the single push of a computer key. There are 4.33 billion active, intelligent, media literate, aware internet users (56% of the people on the planet) who have expanding horizons and discretionary income.

The internet is the ecosystem for proactive promotional efforts and reiteration to create awareness. Today’s tools include websites, social media, and net-friendly content. Personalized online branding is built on a solid foundation that multiplies relationships and expands exponentially around the world.

Understanding Intellectual Property Asset Management begins as “Trans Media”, wherein multiple media products are manifested as individual brands that cross promote each other while providing multiple income streams.

This bears a superficial resemblance to the legacy model of vertical integration, but rather than
consist of separate divisions operating within one business structure, multiple income streams
are manifested as individual brands created to exploit a master intellectual property (IP) brand.

Psychographics is the study of personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests and lifestyles
(not be confused with demographics, which are statistical data relating to the population and
particular socio-economic strata). Today, target audiences can be identified psychographically
thanks to the abundance of personal interest online communities found throughout social media and websites in all languages.

Simply put, the Intellectual Property Asset is the Brand Name, Identity, and Logo.

Trans Media Marketing is the multi-platform exploitation and development of the Master Brand Name, Identity, and or Logo.

Think Star Wars, Marvel Comics, The Simpsons (the first adult animation on TV), and Steam Boat Willy (also known as Mickey Mouse) now over a hundred years old and still growing across all media. Next, think the Mahabharata, the great history of the human race and the stories therein. Trans Media provides a library of copyrights that can be extended with each adaptation.

A Trans Media/Multi Platform Constellation consists of hard and/or soft cover book or books, movie(s), a TV broadcast series, video streaming media, original music, graphic novel(s), comic
books, serialization online or in print media, special events, licensing, merchandising of sportswear and souvenirs, and whatever else the imagination provides for which an audience can be identified.

The purpose of the Trans Media/Multi Platform model is to provide a cascade of products, publicity, sales, and revenue. A Multi Platform Cascade results when an IP’s Trans Media brands on various platforms with individual interactive websites are marketed via social media, streaming media, electronic news and information media, print news and information media, and cable news and information media all work together producing multiple revenue streams and cross-promotion. These are synergistic systems that adapt to current and evolving media platforms to assure a Master Brand identity that lives forever.

Trans Media audiovisual properties may be distributed to the seven screens: theatrical motion
picture, broadcast TV, streaming platforms (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc.), cable and satellite TV, Pay-Per-View, DVDs (retail and rental), and hand-held devices including smart phones and tablets.

Social media campaigns for most IP brands are a “blue ocean,” that is, there is no competition. The purpose of a social media campaign is to create online brand awareness for “sales” of transmedia value. It also serves as a public relations/publicity vehicle. Social Media Distribution includes social media channels with visual assets and copy (content) connecting psychographically consonant affinity groups.

The base effort includes establishing and promoting personalized channels (groups), niche email marketing, central blogs, and social communities. These efforts foster optimization of organic content, that is, user created content as opposed to the IP owner’s content: These efforts are more about volume than quality, in that they foster interactivity and metadata growth.

The process is aided by expert or even celebrity participation or “social proof” and the support of
influencer marketing (referrals to social media audiences), the “low hanging fruit” of social media
marketing. Special attention is paid to ongoing management (“hand to hand combat”) interacting
with groups and communities. PR contacts are “scraped” or data mined for application to
templates and then automated. Special software exists for performing these tasks. IP managers,
on behalf of the content creators, are tasked with “hearing the market” (tracking) in order to create momentum to estimate and adjust to reach goals.

We are to be scientists experimenting in the lab to come up with the special formula to implement our goals. To be certain, everything mentioned in this article is a beginning for Intellectual Property Asset Management as a script becomes a motion picture. This is preliminary work, organizing and planning every aspect to enhance the story’s impact. Every language and every culture will embrace a powerful story. A perfect example is Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali, the beginning of the ApuTrilogy, which is still seen in cinemas and on television in almost every country on the planet. Proper IP Asset Management will make certain that all showings of this wonderful work of art are still providing global revenue to the copyright holders.

It is the science and complex omni-experiencing of 21st Century communication processes with
which we can simplify and co-create a vibrant experience of storytelling in a way never possible
previous to this moment.

Featured Post

Government of India committed to Safeguard IP content: Commerce Secretary

admin   November 1, 2019

Services Exports Promotion Council (SEPC), set-up by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, has brought out the India Intellectual Property (IP) Guide at Cannes in MIPCOM 2019

In a message, to the industry in the India IP Guide released at 36th MIPCOM at Cannes, Commerce Secretary, Anup Wadhawan, said that the Government of India is committed to safeguard against infringement of originality and creativity of the makers to give a boost to services exports. IP is the most important asset for its creators in the media and entertainment sector and the message by Commerce Secretary further said that India firmly believes in the significance of IPR as the centrepiece of the industry’s future growth.

For the second consecutive year, SEPC’s India Pavilion at MIPCOM, Cannes, France, the world’s largest content market, has enthused and attracted industry. Over 60 Indian delegates were part of the India Pavilion delegation. Over 115 Indian companies comprising over 250 delegates were at MIPCOM.

The Indian exhibitors and visiting companies were at MIPCOM to buy, sell, serve and partner with companies present at MIPCOM from over 111 countries across the world. India Pavilion is the one-stop place to meet content creators, audio visual service providers in animation, VFX, AR/VR, gaming, new media services, film production services and much more. Many of the Indian companies were with their completed IPs or pitch for their in-production properties.

One of the key objectives at SEPC is to facilitate service exporters of India and handhold medium and small enterprises to expand their global footprint and to present IPs from India to the buyers and distributors from across the globe. The IP Guide is to illustrate strengths of the Indian content creators.

Takeaways and Trends from MIPCOM 2019

A lot happened at MIPCOM 2019- Keynotes by industry veterans, special sessions that brought together people from various verticals and interactions that threw light on the present and future of M&E sector. Pickle brings you takeaways and trends from MIPCOM

Robert Greenblatt , Chairman, WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer

Personality of the Year

Robert Greenblatt , Chairman, WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer, who is one of the most successful entertainment executives of the last 30 years, delivered MIPCOM’s Personality of the Year keynote, interviewed by World Screen’s Group Editorial Director Anna Carugati-Guise. Greenblatt started by remembering when he got the bug for the entertainment industry, in his teenage years. He watched a film called That’s Entertainment, which compiled the best scenes from MGM musicals. “I was really knocked out,” he said. “I realised that one studio made them all, MGM, and a lightbulb went off in my head. I was always a fan of movies, but I thought ‘I wanna someday run a studio!’”

Amazon & India

Amazon Studios’ Head of International Originals James Farrell and Director of European Originals Georgia Brown delivered a keynote. Farrell offered his take on the international picture, including India. “The whole premium scripted drama area is pretty much a white space in India, where they make great films, great soap operas… but nobody is really making high-budget, high-quality, 8-10 episode scripted drama.” And these shows can travel. “We’re past that ‘well are we going to make it global or local? Let’s just make it really great and specific,” he said.

Content Mix

Amazon Studios’ Director of European Originals Georgia Brown talked about the content mix. “In the co-production space we’ve had a fantastic couple of years… and that’s something we’re going to continue to do,” she said. “We want to engage customers on any level we can. It’s not just about giving them originals, at Amazon we can offer them shows from lots of different people.”

Women Power

Another highlight of MIPCOM’s was the Women in Global Entertainment Power Lunch, with A+E Networks and The Hollywood Reporter. Reed MIDEM’s Laurine Garaude began by welcoming some of the most influential women in the TV business today, notably introducing Newen CEO Bibiane Godefroid, who presented Pour les femmes dans les médias, a French movement to stop sexual harassment in media companies, initially conceived at this very lunch.

Inevitable change

World’s ‘largest free movie and TV streaming service’ Tubi’s CEO Farhad Massoudi and chief content officer Adam Lewinson talked about their strategy, and the wider trends around AVOD in 2019 in their keynote. Massoudi started by comparing the TV industry to other content industries: “The music industry has seen a 60% increase in revenue due to streaming. Radical change is coming to TV and I’m excited to be part of it.” That change looks to be unavoidable, looking at the stats.

Big Bang Moment

Another session at MIPCOM focused on the ‘D2C big bang moment’. Midia Research’s EVP and Research Director Tim Mulligan explored the challenges for SVOD and direct-to-consumer in 2019. “What could be arguably the biggest, pivotal moment of the history of media in the digital landscape,” said Mulligan, citing four new launches in the next six months: Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO Max and Peacock. “The big media players are coalescing with the big tech players to make streaming central to their existence,” he said.

Changing trends

David Clarke, EVP Content at DRG, talked about changing trends for distributors. “Like everybody else, we’re behaving much more like a studio. That’s about supporting creativity much, much earlier, and about getting across development much, much earlier,” he said. “The marketplace for great IP that is available to independent distributors such as ours, there are very few shows that leak out of the super-indie studio system. So when they do come out, you have to be ready and willing to support them and invest in them, and convince those producers that you’re the right home for them.”

View from Japan

Taka Hayakawa, VP at Fuji Television, offered a perspective from Japan, including Fuji TV’s investment in mobile developer Niantic, the creator of the game Pokémon Go. The companies have collaborated on an animated project. “A very good example of our strategy for investment: we invested in the company, and we tried to make collaboration,” he said. Another project, The Window, started life as a drinking session at MIPCOM three years ago with an executive from ZDF! “It’s kinda ‘Soccer meets House of Cards’,” he said.

High Five

Vincent Teulade, CEO of Pistis Strategy Advisor presented five areas of upcoming tech trends. “We’re seeing pay-tv playing a defensive strategy right now, while commercial TV is under increasing pressure. SVoD and AdVoD might become the new norm for an hour of entertainment”, said Teulade.

AI Route

Philippe Petitpont from Newsbridge talked about how their AI based system enables a quicker and more cost efficient process for producers to sift through material, including archive material. “We see that producers are able to decrease work load by 50-80%. We also see a possibility to be much faster when it comes to production. And all the film and data generated while filming can now be indexed affordably and get a new lease of life”, said Petitpont.

Machine learning

Jack Habra from Reminiz talked about using AI and machine learning to generate relevant and verified data from any kind of video content, from live streams to on-demand. “We are an AI solution at scale”, said Habra while describing the process. “We can identify everything from characters to logos and brands, from emotions to interactions, and generate data on all of them”. This is turn enables more efficient contextual advertising, content recommendations as well as live stream monitoring.

Sony’s Super Offerings

As ever at MIPCOM, Sony was there with its 4K and 8K Ultra HD Theatre, offering a programme of sessions on all things high-resolution. They included a brisk ‘Around the 4K world in 30 minutes’ overview of current trends. Paul Gray, research and analysis director at IHS Markit Technology offered the information. Globally, UHD resolutions exceeded half of TV shipments for the first time in the final quarter of 2018. “From now it’s pretty hard to find a TV at 49 inches or bigger that isn’t UHD,” said Gray. More than 260m households now have UHD televisions, and this is predicted to grow to 574m by 2023. In North America, 64% of households are expected to be UHD by 2023. “Not all these sets can do everything,” he warned, in terms of UHD content.

Drag Race

Over the last decade, RuPaul’s Drag Race has become a televisual institution, not to mention a format that’s spreading well beyond the US. Host and producer RuPaul Charles delighted MIPCOM with a keynote, in which he was interviewed by Variety’s managing editor, television, Cynthia Littleton. “We love drag, we love television and we love drag queens!” he said, pinpointing the appeal of his show. “We all were little boys who society said ‘There’s no place for you here’. We start there in that commonality of the struggle. Things are said sometimes that are salty! But it always comes back to ‘you are my sister, you are my brother: we all come from the same place.”

Freemium Streaming

ProSiebenSat.1 CEO Max Conze spoke about Germany’s largest freemium streaming platform, Joyn – a 50/50 joint venture with Discovery Networks – and the plans to launch a premium, subscription-based tier this winter. The moderator for this session was journalist Kate Bulkley.

“One of the things I’ve been all my life is be in consumer-facing businesses where technology plays a role, and to a certain extent, where marketing plays a role,” he said. “We need growth going forward… linear distribution alone, viewing is declining, probably the money that you can make with it is declining as well. So probably we need to make that business future-fit as well.”

Funding Creativity

The Esterel room at MIPCOM hosted a strand devoted to ‘funding creativity’, including a conversation with BBC Studios. Paul Dempsey, president, global distribution, and Ralph Lee, director of content, BBC Studios Production, fielded the questions from moderator Erik Barmack, CEO of Wild Sheep Content. BBC Studios have seen some great new content this year, and some familiar, but recharged. “This year we relaunched Top Gear, which has come back really strong” said Lee. “And in our new series Seven Worlds One Planet we’ve gone further than before with aerial photography, as well as storytelling”.

What’s TV Now

Darren Star, creator and executive producer of shows including Sex and the City, Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place, as well as his current hit, Younger, was interviewed by Jill Offman, EVP at Paramount Network / Comedy Central. He started by talking about Emily in Paris, his new drama-comedy. “Americans certainly have this wonderful romantic relationship with Paris, and I think we’ve seen it in movies, books… I don’t think there’s been a TV series that’s really captured it,” he said. “What’s wonderful about television now is it’s become so expensive that we can film an entire series here! That wasn’t quite as possible a few years ago, and the definition of what television is has expanded so much that what would have been a feature is now a TV series.”

Around the world

Endemol Shine’s CEO of Creative Networks Lisa Perrin spoke about the company’s approach to developing, financing, producing and distributing content. She was interviewed by Erik Barmack, CEO of Wild Sheep Content. Endemol Shine has over 3 billion views of their content over all platforms monthly. While new content is always being developed and produced, many of the shows are long-running enterprises. “Big Brothers is in its 20th year now”, Perrin said. “It still travels around the world. The show reflects the audience very well. But how to innovate around formats like this, that takes skill.”

Beyond the Giants

You’ll hear lots about Netflix, Apple, WarnerMedia and other giant streaming services this market, but there’s life beyond those platforms. A session called “Streaming Services: Beyond the Giants“ looked at how domestic and regional players are thriving. Speakers included DocuBay COO Akul Tripathi; BritBox President Soumya Sriraman; and Media Prima Director, Digital Asset Management Unit, IP-Animation and Licensing & Merchandising, Airin Zainul. The moderator was Midia Research’s Tim Mulligan.

Twitter Talk

Kay Madati, Global VP and Head of Content Partnerships at Twitter, outlined the ‘past, present and future of Twitter’s content partnerships’, aided by ITV Partnership Controller Bhav Chandrani; Eurosport Digital General Manager Paul Rehrig, and Twitter’s Head of News and Sport Partnerships, EMEA, Jo Kelly. “Twitter is the place where people come to discover and talk about what’s happening in the world. And increasingly so it’s publishers like you who bring your premium content to the platform… to partner with and marry that conversation,” said Madati, adding that Twitter’s users play an active, not passive role in the process. “They are not passengers on that content journey. They are drivers.”

Power of TV

Ruth Berry , Managing Director, Global Distribution at ITV Studios, talked about how television is ‘shaping culture around the world’, referring to shows including Love Island, Noughts + Crosses and World on Fire. She was interviewed by Manori Ravindran, International Editor, TBI Magazine. “For us it’s very much about how the power of television can connect with audiences,” said Berry. “And how we can connect with those audiences increasingly on a global level.” She talked about the so-called golden age of television. “We’re still in a golden age of television. It’s glimmering its way along the Croisette very well!”

Food for thought

“Getting to the Top – Insight & Tips from – and for – Women in the Media” mentoring breakfast was co-hosted with MediaClub’Elles. Industry veterans including France Televisions’ Caroline Behar; TwoFour54’s H.E. Maryam AlMheiri; All3media’s Louise Pedersen; Cartoon Networks’ Adina Pitt; RMC Decouverte’s Guenaelle Troly; and Fuzzy Duckling Media’s Sam Witters shared their experiences and advice. The breakfast was divided into tables, for attendees to connect and discuss the issues that are important to them in 2019. At the end of the event, each table’s representative stood up to share some of the talking points.