INNOVATION CRITICAL FOR FUTURE OF INDIAN M&E

admin   November 28, 2019

The CII-BCG Knowledge Report on future of the Indian Media & Entertainment industry, which was released at the recently concluded 2019 edition of CII Big Picture Summit, outlines some of the critical areas based on an extensive research, which can spark action as the industry looks to outpace its past success in the challenging times ahead

As Indian Media and Entertainment Industry has set the bar high on generating compelling content, creating new experiences for both their viewers and advertisers, it has led to the growth of trillion touchpoints along with the advertising dollars. But to ensure a steady rise in the Industry’s growth trajectory in future, the stakeholders will have to keep on raising the bar to meet the ever growing expectations and brace for challenges ahead, says a report prepared by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Confederation of Indian Industry.

Released at the recently held Big Picture Summit from November 14 to 15, the report titled ‘The Trillion (and Growing) Touchpoint Story-Recognizing the Monetization Conundrum says: “The coming year is truly pivotal for the industry as they seek to raise the bar once again in possibly challenging times ahead.”

The authors of the report applaud the achievements of the industry. “We are proud & delighted to say that the industry has come out with flying colors on the consumption front to maintain the growth momentum with our trillion touchpoints increasing steadily. The increasing monetization levels and growth of advertisement dollars are also strong testaments to the high levels of engagement between the industry and its stakeholders, the value being created,” they say.

However, they also caution that “we do need to be cognizant of the possible uncertainty up ahead in the coming days”. They go on to outline some of the critical areas “which can enhance the value disproportionately”. The report hopes that the insights provided by it would help “structure the imperatives and sparks action as we move towards a new tomorrow which is better than today

The report has been divided into four sections, giving useful insights into: consumption patterns, consumer engagement drivers and trends, advertising trends and key recommendations to take the industry forward.

According to the report, the consumption pattern present a positive picture as video continues to gain share within the digital pie; a favourable macro environment providing tailwinds that has been leveraged by the industry to fuel growth; steady growth of the trillion touchpoints especially with share of digital increasing; and a highly engaged set of consumers being witnessed.

“While traditional media is growing at a steady pace, digital media is driving overall growth with at a 16% CAGR over the past 2 years,” it says. Digital video consumption has increased from 11mins/day to 24mins/ day over the past 2 years. Over 2018, this has been driven by: 10-15% increase in numbers of sessions; 15-25% increase in average time per session, according to the report

AVERAGE DIGITAL VIDEO CONSUMPTION IN THE COUNTRY HAS INCREASED OVER TWO FOLD IN THE PAST TWO YEARS TO 24 MINUTES PER DAY FROM 11 MINUTES PER DAY. AN INCREASE OF 10-15 PER CENT IN THE NUMBER OF SESSIONS (HOURS PER DAY). CONSUMPTION GROW

Steps taken by industry, such as offering affordable plans, forging partnership to provide free content, large breadth of “relevant” content, and creating interesting ads on different platforms have also played a crucial role in increasing content consumption.

“The high levels of engagement are starting to address the issue of monetization which traditionally has been the proverbial elephant in the room. Consumers are increasingly looking to move beyond trials but the funnel flow is still small compared to the large scale investments being made by players to both acquire and retain consumers,” says the report.

However, the report goes on to add that the consumer research suggests that “the path being taken is the right one as users proclaim high stickiness and tendency to pay with the spend on media expected to follow the “lipstick effect” even in challenged environments”.

“Video viewing seems to be largely economy agnostic, and consumers are expected to increase spending in the near future,” the report notes.

When it comes to advertisers, the report says that they “understand and appreciate the manifold advantages – better targeting, lesser wastage, ability to drive brand building through interactive experiences, among others”.

But the report also points out that questions on effectiveness and efficacy still remain in the absence of transparent and verifiable data, as concerns are getting louder. “The advertisers do want to the industry to quickly fix some of the inherent issues like transparent measurement of ROMI (return on marketing investment).” Psychometric approach of targeting needs a deeper understanding of consumer behavior, which is facilitated through digital, it says. “Possible challenging environment ahead may impact status quo and lead to tough decisions,” the authors of the report caution.

The report calls for “deep introspection and high levels of innovation”, as the coming year will be a pivotal one for the industry which looks to balance the imperative of growth and helping translate the trillion (and growing) touchpoints into a more sustainable & value accretive proposition for all the stakeholders.

The M&E growth till now has been made possible by the embracement of disruptions like digital and increased internet usage and turning it to an advantage. “There has been a common agenda and cohesion of imperatives across all the stakeholders– broadcasters, publishers, media agencies, advertisers, regulators, government agencies, among others, to make this possible,” the report notes, adding that if the past is anything to go by then the industry will not only rise to the expectations but turn the adversity into an advantage.

INDIA HAS THE SECOND LARGEST BASE OF SMARTPHONES IN THE WORLD, SETTING UP A MASSIVE PLATFORM FOR DIGITAL VIDEO CONSUMPTION. MOREOVER, INDIA HAS WITNESSED A DRAMATIC REDUCTION IN DATA COST OVER THE PAST 2-3 YEARS. THIS IS LEADING TO HIGHER DATA USAGE — INDIA HAS THE HIGHEST PER-CAPITA CONSUMPTION OF DATA AT 9.8 GIGABYTES PER MONTH


Netflix unveiles mobile plan for India at Rs 199

admin   July 25, 2019

Netflix has announce the launch of a new mobile plan for India. At Rs 199 per month, members will be able to access all of Netflix’s content— uninterrupted and without ads— in standard definition (SD) on one smartphone or tablet at a time. This is Netflix’s fourth Indian plan, in addition to the existing basic, standard and premium plans.

Ajay Arora, Director, Product Innovation, Netflix, said, “Our members in India watch more on their mobiles than members anywhere else in the world- and they love to download our shows and films. We believe this new plan will make Netflix even more accessible and better suit people who like to watch on their smartphones and tablets—both on the go and at home.”

According to a FICCI-EY 2019 report, Indians spend 30% of their phone time—and over 70% of their mobile data—on entertainment. Netflix is investing heavily in Indian films and series across all genres and for all generations, including much-loved hits like Sacred Games, Chopsticks and Mighty Little Bheem. Thirteen new films and nine new original series are already in the pipeline.

According to Arora, Netflix continues to improve the mobile experience with features like Smart Downloads, mobile previews, and sharing to social media. “Most recently, we improved our Android app—by making the sign-up flow for new members and the app load more quickly on entry-level smartphones.”

Meanwhile, Netflix has also adjusted prices for its three existing plans. The Basic plan is now available at Rs 499 per month, Standard at Rs 649, and Premium at Rs 799 per month.


Cinema as an Art Form Will Survive: Dorothee Wenner

admin   November 26, 2018

We are living in times of dramatic changes – and I guess the only way to move forward is to analyze changes without fear, analyze regional and cultural specifics of filmmaking and audiences, says Dorothee Wenner, delegate and South Asia programmer to the Berlin International Film Festival

International Film Festival of India (IFFI) is marching towards 50th anniversary in 2019. What has been your experience at IFFI?

It is a highly important meeting point for international and Indian film professionals alike, and I really enjoyed the Goan flair whenever I attended in past years. However, the timing of IFFI is tough for us Berlinale programmers, as main selection screenings are ongoing at home and most of our research needs to be done before IFFI takes place – our deadline is October end.

For over a decade, year after year Berlinale has been on a discovery spree of Indian films and directors and you are part of discovering talent. Your views…

My Bombay-based colleague Meenakshi Shedde and I work nearly the entire year, trying to get an overview of what is under production. It is an extremely work-intense enterprise trying to get a picture of what is going on. In India, only very few official organizations exist which support our work in comparison to countries like Korea or Argentina. The effects can be frustrating, but also very rewarding, as I’m discovering every year a number of films by filmmakers I have never heard of; I see films about topics, areas I never knew they existed… The bottomline is that the tremendous passion for cinema and filmmaking in India is what drives me. To my knowledge, it is unsurpassed by any other region in the world.

Do you see visible changes in the independent Indian cinema? What are your views on new narratives among the current generation of filmmakers?

Yes, I do see changes. Presently, many more independent films deal with political and social changes ongoing in India; the remote areas are coming to the fore in terms of attention. Violence, the class divide and religious tensions are depicted in many more movies than a few years ago. Also, I noticed that the new generation seems to be more at ease, more daring in experimenting with new cinematographic languages and expressions.

There are 2,000 films that are produced in over 20 languages in seven film markets in India. What needs to be done to bring structural changes in the Indian cinema ecosystem to identify cinemas of India?

That is a big question and a proper answer would fill a book. To start with, I think cinemas in India should be supported by a cultural understanding and a force that allows looking at filmmaking not solely as a commercial business. There’s a need for non-commercially (or: not solely commercially oriented) niches to develop and prosper new ideas, formats and new audiences. Especially, the current distribution system is suffocating and would need structural support to become more diverse.

Do you think India needs to create institutions equivalent of what other countries have in film space? 

What I’m desperately waiting for are alliances of independent filmmakers which create official bodies strong and big enough to represent their impact and voice their demands in the larger field. If the new institutions would be modelled accordingly – yes, that could make a difference.

India has co-production treaties with 14 countries in audio visual space. This tool has been rarely used and less than 10 films have been co-produced in last one decade. How do we change this? Do you think the new generation of filmmakers can make use of this if the scope of co -production is expanded to news screens (mobile, OTT)?

Looking at the production realities of Indian filmmaking, it is the smaller and medium budget productions which are most likely to venture into successful international co-productions. And yes, I do think this model could have a very stimulating effect on the Indian industries overall. To get there, screenplay writing and project development would need to get more attention; more support. And often: simply more time.

With companies like Amazon, Netflix and Google driving cinemas across geographies, how do you see the future for cinemas?

I’m a cinephile and convinced that cinema as an art form will survive. Having said that, I’m very aware that we are living in times of dramatic changes – and I guess the only way to move forward is to analyze changes without fear, analyze regional and cultural specifics of filmmaking and audiences. It is a political, cultural and economic responsibility to keep local, regional cinematographic infrastructures intact – not only by protecting existing realities, also by being inventive in looking for new forms of collaboration, innovative financing, by experimenting with films’ exhibition and of course: new models of audience building. Amazon, Netflix and Google have become extremely powerful players, initially only due to their financial capacities – but it is not money alone which creates good cinema. Until very recently, I think a lot of people in the industry were in kind of a shell-shock by the pace the Silicon valley or digitization are transforming the industry – I’m not excluding myself. But over the past few months, I’m very pleased to see that the awareness to come to terms with the new realities, mainly by developing counter-strategies to the new capitalist super-powers has gained momentum. Not to be misunderstood: I’m full of admiration for some of the films, series of lately produced by Amazon, Google, Netflix. It’s just their tremendous strive for a total market domination which I detest – and which in my view needs to be tackled.

This is crucial time for Indian filmmakers and producers planning to attend Berlinale and European Film Market. Please give few dos and don’ts on preparing for Berlinale?

Berlinale is not a last-minute-destination: usually it works much better if you make your schedule in advance.  Define what you want to achieve at the festival and make a strategy accordingly before you leave. Team up with colleagues, friends who’ve been to Berlinale before. Book your accommodation now. Bring warm clothes and shoes; go to the gym to be fit once you arrive. If you don’t have a next project to take care of: Berlinale is a perfect destination for film buffs eager to see as many films as your body/brain allows in 10 days – it can be totally rewarding and time of your life!