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Media News Digest June 22, 2021

admin   June 22, 2021

NFDC Film Bazaar’s Co-Production Projects at Cannes Film Market

For the first time, NFDC Film Bazaar is part of the Co-Production Day (July 9) at the Cannes Film Market with seven projects. The seven projects are Dengue by Prantik Basu (India, Netherlands), Rasa (Immerse) by Anjali Menon (India), Kuhiro Pariko Sahar (A Hidden Tale Behind The Mist) by Pasang Dawa Sherpa (Nepal), Moving Bangladesh by Nuhash Humayun (Bangladesh), Last Time On Earth by Paromita Dhar (India, France), Ghol (The Catch) by Rishi Chandna and Second Chance by Subhadra Mahajan (India). During one-to-one speed meeting sessions, filmmakers will have the opportunity to connect with projects in development looking for co-producers and financiers and one-on-one meetings. This will open new opportunities for filmmakers and it is a great initiative by NFDC in the challenging Covid-19 times. No doubt, Marché du Film (Cannes) is the biggest film market in the world that will be having its online as well as physical edition from 06-15 July, 2021.

Now, OFCOM in Action

It is not just in India that regulation is put in place for video streaming platforms like Amazon Prime, Netflix, Disney Hotstar, Zee5 and Voot among others. OFCOM, the UK media regulator, plans to regulate streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime in the same level playing field as the BBC and ITV. OFCOM is set to bring on demand services, allowing complaints over inaccuracy and bias. Netflix’s royal drama The Crown was embroiled in controversy with the UK Government — over portrayal of historical events in the drama. It may also be remembered after a lot of criticism a couple of years ago Amazon Prime removed its anti-vaccine documentaries from Prime Video Streaming. Now, countries around the world are waiting for the white paper from OFCOM.

Mohanlal’s Marakkar to get 3-week Theatre Run in 600 Screens

The Kerala film industry has decided to exclusively screen Mohanlal starrer, Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham, for a period of three weeks in theatres in Kerala from August 12 to coincide with the Onam festival. This is as per an agreement reached between the Film Exhibitors’ United Organisation of Kerala (FEUOK) and the Kerala Film Producers’ Association (KFPA) to revive the ailing Malayalam film industry hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. Though the decision not to release any other movies during the three-week exclusive window for the Priyardarshan-directed movie was taken based on the inference that a major film was needed to bring back the audience to the theatres once the pandemic situation eased, some stakeholders are questioning the move. How an association can take such an unilateral decision, they wonder.

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Zee Denies Merger with Viacom18

Eventhough Zee Entertainment Enterprises has denied there is no credence to reports about a potential merger with Viacom18, it continues to be the talking point among media industry executives. Ashish Agarwal, Company Secretary, Zee Entertainment Enterprises in a regulatory filing to BSE listing department stated that “there is no transaction being undertaken and the matter is speculative in nature.” The market buzz is not something new for ZEE, as the speculation of who will Zee partner with or acquired has been heard on the street for over two years. Only the suitors are changing…

Connectivity & Communication are Basic Rights: Mukesh Ambani

Industrialist Mukesh Ambani has pressed for bridging the digital divide “both among nations and within nations”, and said connectivity and communications have become the fundamental rights of every person. Also, there is a need to bring back the economies around the globe, he added. Addressing the Qatar Economic Forum, he said it is difficult to imagine what India would have been without the 4G telecom network during the pandemic. The Reliance chief said, “The digital divide must be bridged, both among nations and within nations. This is because connectivity and communications have become the basic needs, and also fundamental rights of every human being on the planet (just) as basic as food, clothing, and shelter.”

Dish TV to Raise Rs 1,000 crore

Dish TV India Ltd said its board has approved raising up to Rs 1,000 crore through a rights issue in one or more tranches. In a regulatory filing, the Essel Group firm said, the board of the company in a meeting held on Monday “approved the fundraising of up to ₹1,000 crores through rights issue of equity shares”. It added: “This would be subject to receipt of such corporate, regulatory and other approvals/consents, as may be required under applicable rules, regulations and laws.” Funds would be raised through issuance of fully paid-up equity shares at ₹10 apiece, including premium of ₹9 per fully paid-up equity share, to eligible shareholders of the company as on the record date.

By the Numbers: There are 1.18 billion mobile phones and 775 million Internet users in India

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Pickle Media News Digest June 21, 2021

admin   June 21, 2021

Viacom18-Zee, merger talks?

Viacom18 Media which called off talks with Sony Picture Network India (October 2020) is now said to be exploring potential merger with Subhash Chandra’s Zee Entertainment Enterprises. All these days, this was speculated, and today made news in page one of Mint, the financial daily of HT Media. Viacom18 is a joint venture between TV18 Broadcast and Viacom CBS. TV18 is part of Network18 Media (majority owned by Reliance Industries Ltd). Zee is majorly owned by Foriegn Institutional Investors and Subhash Chandra’s Essel Group (3.9%). Network18 and Zee Entertainment Enterprises are listed entities. This merger buzz tops the radar of every media and telecom executive in the country.

Action Time at I&B Ministry

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has never been busy, particularly when it comes to regulatory corrections and new policy initiatives in the media and entertainment sector as we are witnessing now. Cable TV Network Amendment Rules 2021 (giving statutory recognition to self-regulatory bodies), calling for public views on amendments in the Cinematograph (Amendment Bill 2021), The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (registration of self regulatory bodies for video streaming and digital news platforms) top the agenda. The recent interactions by the I&B Ministry officials with all stakeholders and handholding industry explaining the nuances is now happening with regional players too. With all this action, many in the film fraternity (especially independent filmmakers and producers) are looking for long pending announcements with regard to incentive package for film shoots and co-production under the champion sector scheme.The Indian media, entertainment and technology services are witnessing new growth opportunities (in current pandemic times) on the back of growing offshore services domain, especially in animation, VFX, gaming, AR/VR and digital media are keenly looking forward to the draft National AVGC (animation, visual effects, gaming) and AR/VR policy from the government.

Who is Lina Khan

Born and grew up in London to parents from Pakistan, 32-year-old Lina Khan is a champion to protect the public from corporate abuse (read Big Tech). US President Joe Biden has named Khan as Chair of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Earlier, Khan was an Associate Professor at Columbia Law School. She has been one of the vocal critics of tech giants. Khan’s article in 2017 in the Yale Law Journal called “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox” went viral. No doubt, Lina Khan is now chair of FTC, and feared too. We will get to see her in action in the coming months on what’s in store for Big Tech. Nations across the world are to take a cue from this consumer protectionist.

2,500 buyers, 700 films, 85 countries, at Pre-Cannes Screening

Around 2,500 buyers and festival programmers will be online to discover more than 700 films from around the world at the Pre-Cannes Screenings (June 21-25). These films come from 85 countries and the genres are eclectic (dramas 32%, thrillers 20%, comedies 17%, documentaries 14%, animation 14%, horror 14%). The most represented countries are the USA (198 films), Europe (395 films) including France (78 films) and Asia (108 films). The Pre-Cannes Screenings take place on marchedufilm.online and are reserved for accredited buyers, distributors, streamers and festival programmers. The physical Marché du Film (Cannes Film Market) runs from July 6-15). Due to the pandemic, India will be participating virtually at Cannes Film Market 2021.

Madan’s YouTube Channels Blocked, Videos Deleted

Close on the heels of the arrest and remand of YouTuber ‘PUBG’ Madan, Central Crime Branch has blocked his four YouTube channels and deleted all the videos. Also, police have advised his fans, mostly school students and juveniles, to stop playing PUBG. Madan Kumar Manickam alias Madan OP, an engineering graduate came under police scanner for talking obscenely to under 18 boys and girls through online games and extorting money from them. The games were live streamed from his YouTube channel. Madan and his wife are arrested. On Thursday, the Madras High Court expressed shock to hear the recorded conversations between Madan and his teenage subscribers. The cybercrime wing cops registered a case under sections of the IPC, Information Technology (IT) Act and The Indecent Representation of Women Prohibition Act, 1986, after receiving more than 100 complaints against Madan. Even after the Central government banned PUBG, it is said many are using virtual private networks (VPNs) to continue accessing the game.

Trends of Creator Economy Tracked

Creator Economy is defined as the class of businesses built by over 50 million independent content creators, curators, and community builders including social media influencers, bloggers, and videographers, plus the software and finance tools designed to help them with growth and monetization. The three top trends in the creator economy, according to SignalFire’s Creator Economy market map, are:

  • Creators moving their top fans off of social networks and on to their own. websites, apps, and monetization tools
  • Creators becoming founders, building out teams and assembling tools to help them start businesses while focusing on their art.
  • Creators gaining power in the media ecosystem as fans seek to connect with individual personalities rather than faceless publishers.

Celebrating Music, the Universal Language

For music lovers around the world, today is a special day. For, June 21 is celebrated as ‘World Music Day’. It honours musicians and their contribution towards making everything all that more melodious. World Music Day was first celebrated in France in 1982. The Minister of Art and Culture, Jack Lange, gave this festival a green light, along with a renowned French composer named Maurice Fleuret. Every year, it is celebrated on the day of the summer solstice, which is June 21. The aim behind this was to bring people out on the streets and enjoy themselves listening to the music, however they like it. More than 120 countries celebrate World Music Day and organise free public concerts in parks, stadiums and public places. Music lovers organise different musical concerts and events on this special day.

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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.


  • 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