NAB SHOW SURPASSES 900 EXHIBITORS AS INDUSTRY RETURNS TO FACE-TO-FACE BUSINESS

admin   April 26, 2022

Broadcast, media and entertainment industries prepare for largest tech event of the year

NAB Show the world’s largest annual conference for broadcast, entertainment and technology professionals, will host attendees from 154 countries and exhibiting companies from 38 nations at the 2022 NAB Show, held April 23 – 27 in Las Vegas, Nev.

Attendees from outside the U.S. make up nearly one-quarter of all pre-registered 2022 NAB Show attendees, which closely mirrors the 2019 NAB Show percentage.

“At a time when content can travel around the world in a blink of an eye, there is nothing like NAB Show to help the content community discover the tools, trainings and insights that will unleash the next global phenomenon,” said Chris Brown, NAB executive vice president and managing director of Global Connections and Events. “We are excited to welcome back our friends and partners from all across the globe as our industry gets back to doing business in-person.”

NAB Show participates in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Trade Event Partnership Program, which recruits international trade delegations to select U.S. trade shows and connects international buyers with U.S. suppliers.

Delegations attending NAB Show include Brazil, Columbia, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Turkey, Vietnam and more.

NAB Show’s exhibit floor, located in the North Hall, Central Hall and the newly constructed West Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, will host 358 exhibitors from 38 countries outside of the United States, including United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Belgium and France. The exhibition will also host the following pavilions:

• Bavarian Pavilion – Central Hall
• Brazilian Pavilion – North Hall
• French Pavilion – West Hall
• Great Britain & Northern Ireland Pavilion – North Hall
• Global Trade Show Row – West Hall

Additionally, several international organizations, including the Brazilian Society of Television Engineering (SET), will host meetings for their members at NAB Show. Demonstrations of global technologies currently deployed outside of the U.S. will also be conducted by broadcasters and other media and entertainment companies throughout the Show.


The Startups of EFM 2022 

admin   February 3, 2022

Building on its seven successful editions, EFM Startups will present innovative, international entrepreneurs working in the area of production, development and distribution in the film and audio-visual media industries at the online EFM 2022.

EFM has supported over 100 startups in the media, technology and entertainment biz that enabled innovation and deployed AI, blockchain in the film industry value chain.

The companies selected to participate in EFM Startups were carefully curated to showcase new ideas in the intersection between media and technology – be it in development, production, distribution or marketing – which are essential to the industry’s survival and future growth in a rapidly changing landscape.

Selected companies participating in the EFM Startups 2022, will be invited to pitch their Startup to an audience of producers, programmers, financiers, sales agents and distributors; virtually attend a series of matched 1:1 with producers and other industry professionals and take part in selected EFM online market screenings and events. Ahead of the online market, they will be prepped for the EFM Startups with virtual personal and group meetings as well as a series of digital pitch training sessions.

Maria Tanjala and Irina Albita, Big Couch. EFM Startups Alumni 2018, says, “EFM Startups champions talent and ambition while inspiring Startup founders with the confidence to reach their highest goals.”

EFM Startups 2022 Participating Entrepreneurs are Aibeatz, BetaSeries, Cascade8, Freque, Marionette, Mnemonica, Nova.ai by PromoMii, Prisma, Publikum, Qwest TV, Respeecher Inc, The GreenShot.

Here is a quick look on startups participating in Berlinale 2022 and what they are up to.

Aibeatz

AIBeatz (Germany) is a stand-alone AI beat-making platform that empowers users’ to easily create original music in real-time right in browser. Adrian Liguere is the co-founder, CEO and Daniel Murcia is co-founder, CTO.

BetaSeries

Thanks to its unique TV series usage data gathered on 2.1M members, BetaSeries (France) produces exclusive analytics on TV series and OTT platforms and analyzes for producers their TV series scripts in order to deliver simple and complete marketing sales pitches answering commissioners needs such as audience segmentation or performance forecast. Rémi Tereszkiewica is the CEO and Maxime Valette is founder and CTO.

Cascade8

Cascade8 (France) is the tech branch of French media group Logical Pictures. It develops blockchain and software solutions for content industry professionals. Cascade8 had notably developed applications like FilmSeriesNFT.com (NFT marketplace for films and TV series), Archipel Content (content marketplace) and Archipel Market (ongoing film market platform). Yannick Bossenmeyer is CEO and co-founder, while Yuki You is business developer.

Freque

Freque (Germany), a Potsdam based tech company, was officially founded in 2021 and is the first music productivity tool for filmmakers. The brainchild of founder Justin Michael La Vallee (American), Tobias Wagner (German), Paolo Galli (Italian) and Stephan Baumann (German), freque offers new digital solutions for the film and music industries. Justin Michael La Vallee and Tobias Wagner are its co-founders and managing directors.

Marionette

Marionette (Denmark) gives animators the possibility of recording motion capture anywhere without the need for motion capture suits. It helps minimize the pre-visualization work to maximize the creative output. Tommy Thore Ipsen (Thore) is the CEO, while Jennifer Anne Ipsen is COO.

Mnemonica

Mnemonica (Italy) is the European viewing & sharing platform for the film industry, designed for top-grade security and ease of use. A unique combination of smart screening rooms and a two-way file transfer facility, that can flexibly streamline all phases of film and series lifecycle, from casting to production & post, and long-term archiving. Piero Costantini is the CEO
and Stefano Diana is the CCO.

Nova by PromoMii

Nova by PromoMii (UK) is an A.I. powered video search, retrieval and clip generation platform that enables users to instantly deep-search their video, audio, and archival libraries for specific moments categorized by emotions, objects, people, actions, scene types, words and more. Automatically transcribes, translates, and subtitles 40+ languages and allows users to generate multiple new clips from original content in seconds. Michael Moss is co- founder and CEO, Linnea Langfjord Kristensen is head of operations.

Prisma Germany

Prisma (Germany) is a fully decentralized, social network to distribute films without boundaries where you discover, sell, re-sell, share, gift, and collect movies as NFT Licenses. On Prisma’s new, unique platform everyone can truly own, promote & track their movies and transact directly with their community through blockchain tech. Vincent Lopez is co-founder and CTO,
Raiomond Mirza is head of operations.

Publikum

Publikum (Denmark) is a service for audience research offering a combination of AI-analysis and anthropological insights in early-stage script development. The Danish company helps filmmakers elevate their creativity by journeying into the feelings their stories triggers in a future audience with the precision of big data and the depth of human science. Lars Tversted is CFO and co-founder, while Neils Alberg, who too is a co-founder, is the CEO.

Qwest TV

Cofounded by Quincy Jones, Qwest TV (France) is part of the explosion of the global video streaming market. With 3 music TV channels & a SVOD platform-1500 hours (concerts, documentaries, originals), Qwest TV is in a B2B expansion phase. It has more than 13M monthly viewers. It already has 220 universities partnering with Qwest TV EDU. Reza Ackbaraly is the CEO, while Pierre-Henri Moulard is General Manager.

Respeecher Inc.

Respeecher Inc. (Ukraine) is a speech-to-speech system. It allows one person to speak in the voice of another particular person. Respeecher was launched in early 2018 with the goal to create a high-quality synthetic speech that would go through picky sound engineers in Hollywood studios. Today Respeecher is a team of 30+ ppl. Alex Serdiuk is the CEO and co-founder.

The GreenShot

The GreenShot (Belgium) accelerates the move to eco-certified productions by making the process fluid, easy, financially attractive and inclusive of the crew. Invented by location manager Max Hermans, the app delivers the missing link: live, cost-efficient sustainability on-set and in-studio! TheGreenShot won the 2021 Makers & Shakers ‘tech production innovation of the year’. Max Hermans is co-founder and COO, while Véronique Pevtschin is co-founder and CEO.


NAB Show 2022: Self-Guided Tour of All Things Data, AI & Automation

admin   January 30, 2022

Why is Intelligent Content a key destination — along with the Create, Connect and Capitalize pillars — at the 2022 NAB Show? Because it has become a real, transformational element of today’s media and entertainment ecosystem, with practical applications all across the content value chain.

Intelligent Content is relevant and important to your business. Whether you’re ready for it or not, it is the future. Perhaps that sounds like a bold statement, but if you look at the modern media business, you already see Intelligent Content everywhere, in broadcast, OTT and all manner of digital and social platforms.

Intelligent Content is content that uses smart technology before, during and after creation. It is informed by and embedded with data that can be traced, analyzed and applied. Thanks to this data, intelligent content can more easily be discovered, reused and adapted. It can be used for more than one purpose and on more than one platform. And in the end, intelligent content can make great storytelling more intuitive and enable a curated viewing experience for every single consumer.

Using Intelligent Content, Fox Entertainment and Blockchain Creative Labs have built on the hit show “The Masked” singer with the launch of “The MaskVerse,” an NFT marketplace and community designed to make buying, selling and trading of digital goods — Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) — part of the mainstream consumer experience.

Intelligent Content also drives the Squid Game NFT collection, which is likewise engineered to increase engagement with fans and develop a broader reach, with greater revenue-generation potential. Fans can purchase “Squid Game” NFTs, such as characters, honeycomb candy (Dalgona) and backgrounds, and eventually use them to participate in online games mirroring those in the popular show (with big cash prizes but without so much gore).

How does it actually work? Data, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning are being used to make content work harder. It’s a circular flow in which data informs content creation, and the data harvested through delivery and consumption across various devices and platforms informs further content creation and delivery. Used in this way, data drives smarter, richer and more meaningful connections between the producers and consumers of content. It supports new channels of engagement and new ways to generate revenue. This is the Intelligent Content showcase you’ll discover at the 2022 NAB Show.

Within Intelligent Content, you’ll find three focus areas: AI and Automation, New Engagement Channels, and New Business Models. It’s no accident that these areas respectively align well with Create, Connect and Capitalize, though AI and automation truly make an impact along the entire value chain, from camera to consumption.

As broadcasters, streamers and networks pursue more direct relationships with consumers, AI manages the data that drives better-informed decisions that lead to greater success. Supporting behavioral analytics and demand-led commissioning, it allows for more accurate viewership predictions, enabling more effective monetization of content, and even helps media organizations extend their reach, target new audiences, try new ideas and capitalize on new opportunities while minimizing risk. In conjunction with integrated tech stacks, AI also enables greater automation of production workflows, improving efficiency and reducing costs across the board.

All of these gains give media organizations the opportunity to explore new engagement channels and to connect with consumers in new ways. As audiences increasingly expect personalization at scale, content creators and distributors will need to engage with them differently and empower them to consume content in different ways. They will need to consider new business models, new methods for capturing data about audiences and viewing patterns, and additional platforms through which to reach consumers. (Social influencers, mobile and other always-on platforms, wearable devices, connected electronics, appliances and homes, and more!)They also need to understand the infrastructure and technical requirements needed to support all these new efforts and ventures.

The 2022 NAB Show will offer an in-depth look at all these aspects of engagement, giving you a better understanding of how your business can move forward in making content work harder for you. Building on that idea, the New Business Models focus area will examine exactly that: new business models. More specifically, it will reveal how consumer data is redefining the value exchange between content creators and content consumers — and driving the shift away from subscription and advertising dependent models. Here you’ll learn more about monetization and reaching the connected consumer in a data-driven media ecosystem.

While data has powered various parts of the industry for some time now, the idea of Intelligent Content isn’t necessary intuitive. That’s why this area of the 2022 NAB Show will feature a self-guided tour of all things data, AI and automation, complemented by a new content series on NAB Amplify. Exhibitors are utilizing Intelligent Content to help showcase a more holistic approach to how these technologies are impacting all levels of the workflow from create to connect to capitalize.

Eliminating much of the technical jargon while also providing opportunities for deeper learning, the show will make it easy to build foundational knowledge and discover the possibilities for your business. You’ll learn what Intelligent Content actually means for you, whether you’re in broadcast, streaming, or another area of content creation or delivery.

Ultimately, if you’re an attendee, this approach will help you to make meaningful connections so that you can make informed decisions, which in turn can allow you to create better content, connect with the right people, and make money. That’s always been the strength of NAB Show, and it’s truer than ever as the media and entertainment industry expands into new forms of creating, connecting and capitalizing on content.

If you’ve been in the industry for a while, you’ve seen that every time a new form of media is invented, people throw up their arms and say, “The world is over. That’s the end.” But in reality, the way people consume media is multifaceted and varied. It depends on the moment, how people feel, what they want to do, how much time they have.

There is always a place for these additional forms of media, the new along with the old.NAB Show is the only show that focuses on all of it — the entirety of the media and entertainment ecosystem. That’s why the 2022 NAB Show is the perfect place to learn more about Intelligent Content, how it relates to what you’re doing today and how it will affect your media business in the coming days, months and years.


Comntent Creation Tools From Sony

admin   February 9, 2021

Sony has announced the expansion of its 360 Reality Audio services and product offerings, including adding new video streaming capabilities and content creation tools. Through these efforts, Sony will continue to expand the 360 Reality Audio ecosystem.

Introduced in 2019, Sony’s 360 Reality Audio makes it possible for artists and creators to produce music by mapping sound sources such as vocals, chorus and instruments with positional information and placing them within a spherical space. This revolutionary musical experience, powered by Sony’s spatial sound technologies, evokes feelings of being in a music studio or live concert venue – all without leaving the comfort of home.

Listeners can currently access approximately 4,000 songs in 360 Reality Audio from artists like Alicia Keys, Lil Nas X, Megan Thee Stallion, Noah Cyrus, Zara Larsson, and more. Today, Sony adds new capabilities to this innovative music format; see below for exciting updates for listeners and creators

First-ever Video Streaming Service in 360 Reality Audio

Sony introduced live performance video content with immersive 360 Reality Audio sound. To showcase these new video capabilities, Sony Music Entertainment artist Zara Larsson released an exclusive live performance in 360 Reality Audio during CES 2021. Viewers streamed this performance with a smartphone.

 

360 Reality Audio makes it possible to create a lifelike music experience, giving listeners the impression that they are in a live concert setting. Sony hopes to leverage this spatial sound technology to create an innovative solution for music lovers who are not able to enjoy live concerts due to COVID-19.

Sony, major music labels and service providers are working together to begin streaming this new video content later this year.

New 360 Reality Audio Creative Suite Introduced

Sony and Virtual Sonics, Inc. have developed a new content creation software called the 360 Reality Audio Creative Suite to enable easier creation of 360 Reality Audio content by musicians and creators. The 360 Reality Audio Creative Suite plugin software is compatible with popular digital audio workstation (DAW). Virtual Sonics, Inc., through its subsidiary Audio Futures, Inc., will release the software in April 2021.

Additionally, Sony and Music.com, with distribution by The Orchard, are launching a Creators’ Program, which makes it possible for creators to produce 360 Reality Audio content using the 360 Reality Audio Creative Suite and then stream their content.

Compatible Devices and Licensing Expanded

Beginning this spring, 360 Reality Audio compatible speakers SRS-RA5000 and SRS-RA3000 will be available for purchase. These WiFi-enabled speakers create an immersive, room-filling 360 Reality Audio sound experience by utilizing Sony’s unique Immersive Audio Enhancement algorithm. The speakers can be controlled with Google Assistant*3 or Amazon Alexa*4 devices, so users can manage their music with ease.

360 Reality Audio can also be experienced using headphones from most manufacturers when combined with an Android™/iOS smartphone that has a participating streaming service app installed*2. Additionally, Sony is partnering with other consumer electronics companies to promote the 360 Reality Audio experience.

In order to continue expanding its library of compatible audio devices, Sony will license out the following technologies moving forward:

*Headphones personalization technology that analyzes the listener’s hearing characteristics

*Technologies that enable smartphones and automotive vehicles to play 360 Reality Audio

 


Digital, OTT to Make it Big in India

admin   February 9, 2021

The future of Indian digital and OTT services are bright. India’s streaming growth prospects are growing at a much higher speed in current times that what it would have taken few years to adapt to.

Moderated by Prashanth Rao, Partner & Leader, Deloitte India, M & E Consulting, content leaders and technology providers in the panel were bullish on digital services growth in nook and corner of the country. The session was titled Content, technology & business models: The future of digital services. This session was organised during Fast Track Digital Series, part of the FICCI Knowledge Series, on the role of the digital economy to revitalize economic growth.

Kranti Gada, Chief Operating Officer, Shemaroo Entertainment Limited reasoned that Covid-19 has fastened digital video adoption and consumption in a big way. “I would really give credit to the OTT players and video platforms for encouraging a very active content system, which is drawing audiences for content to the phone, which is not available on television and other media,” said Kranti Gada.

Kranti predicted that ad revenue on digital for the current year will exceed or come on par with television advertising. The big challenge according to Kranti is find a robust payment ecosystem for the bottom of the pyramid viewers.

Saugata Mukherjee, Head of Original Content – SonyLIV maintained that content will remain the king, however technology will be the kingmaker. “We are very keen to tell stories which are intrinsically Indian. Sony Liv’s Scam 1992 has become a cult story one,” said Saugata.

Vinit Mehta, Director-New Business, Brightcove said India’s robust digital infrastructure and scalable technology ecosystem were reasons for improved viewer experience. “We have made the technology fast, simple and scalable,” said Vinit Mehta.

Vinit added that Brightcove has technologies in the space called context aware encoding, which uses AI and machine learning to optimize the bitrate ladder, depending on the motion in the video, thereby saving around 30 to 50% cost of bandwidth and storage expenses.

Karthik Nagarajan, Head-Content, Wavemaker predicted surge in regional consumption and availability of shows in many Indian languages. “One thing that I foresee happening in OTT in a fairly big way is the availability of content in multiple languages within India. That will change the dynamics of what’s happening in India,” said Karthik Nagarajan.

The big challenge in the OTT platforms is to find a robust payment ecosystem for the bottom of the pyramid viewers

 


Multiple Ways of Monetization

admin   January 7, 2021

Register now for CII BIG PICTURE SUMMIT 2020

This is what Dr S Raghunath, IIM-B Professor for Corporate Strategy and Policy said in Pickle-CII BIG PICTURE SUMMIT 2014 special edition

How to create, deliver and capture value in the evolving landscape of information and communication technologies, Dr S Raghunath, IIM-B Professor for Corporate Strategy and Policy, shows the way.

Never before in the history of media and entertainment industry has costly content been so easy to reproduce, re-purpose and distribute . Therefore the focus is on IP value management rather than just IP protection and the creation of digital security format which enables interoperability between devices.

From an era of one way delivery of public content like feature films in movie theatres and soap operas on television and two way delivery of private content like telephone based conversations it has expanded to include multiple ways of delivering content that provides connectivity to private conversation in public domain about public content.

Therefore the central question of monetization is how to create, deliver and capture value in the evolving landscape of information and communication technologies.

There are several challenges to be addressed: moving from medium specific content to content that is available in formats compatible with multiple platforms. There is increased interdependence of communication systems as opposed to stand alone broadcasting of content triggered by the use of multiple devices for accessing content . Then there is a difficult relationship of top down corporate culture and evolving bottom up participatory media and entertainment culture.

Access to audience through the internet has also changed the supply scenario for entertainment content. Amateurs are joining the galaxy of established professionals as producers of content. Crowd sourcing has given rise to more experimentation and aggregation of capabilities. Media is no longer a mere object of consumption, it is a medium of utilization. Earlier media and entertainment content was a product produced by professionals for the consumption of amateurs. It is now the connection between experimenting amateurs and established professionals with a wider global audience. For example, an average of one hundred videos are being uploaded on YouTube every minute, Twitter receives more than one hundred and seventy five million tweets a day.

With availability of free content, advertising has to become more creative about what products consumer want with free content . Advertising is different in the digital media as it is about one on one interactive communication with audience.

The good news is that a personalization software app , a machine learning system can set up a detailed profile of every person’s interests and then match the digital inventory of content to find exactly what the person wants. It then can provide TV programmes or a set of movies which exactly fit whatever a person finds interesting. Therefore the phenomenon of digitalization has turned entertainment content into information goods.

Data analytics facilitates transformation of entertainment content for mass market to thousands of niches made economically feasible by digital delivery . The evolving technology of delivery allows focused distribution to individual consumers.

The individual consumers using a device or a collection of devices now connect and interact with social network through these devices. The preferences of the individual can be identified and shared across devices giving rise to a never before opportunity of personalizing not only entertainment but advertising that pays for the entertainment. The same individual’s presence on multiple devices along with the ability to pay for the experience provides new opportunities for developers to create applications that link to entertainment as well as the social network.

However, increasingly affluent segments of audience population are preferring to watch premium programming content that eliminates advertising. Therefore the insertion of the commercial products within the scenes of the content and the story line will find favour with corporate sponsors resulting in such product placements in feature films and television content.

The laptops, smart phones and tablets have not displaced traditional distribution systems such as televisions from living rooms. The difference is that today people continue to watch television but they do so also through their tablet or smartphone.

In our country,internet penetration is estimated to cover fifteen per cent of the population. A Nielsen survey indicates that the highest penetration for mobile Internet is in the age group of 15-24. This has its implications for advertising and e commerce and there is an emerging preference for quality content.

However, low quality content will continue to mushroom with improving technology and increasing access to the internet . This is likely to bring a decline in the average content quality. However, the range available would result in clear demarcation of better content and best among the rest . Uncontrolled access to variety of content will lead to self selection of the best which will benefit society at large though it has access to a wide variety of junk.Thus the only mass curator for content will be the instant people response.

The collective shaping of what we believe and watch is going to be done more and more by amateurs creating a visual image. Digital content is turning into a massive cloud of evolving ideas, always in dialogue, influencing opinion with every voice contributing to it.

In this scenario, Big data analytics will provide enough indications about soap operas and characters stirring interest and emotions in specific regions or locations. Virtual delivery of content also will increase the appetite for live stage performances. Live performances in those locations will generate higher revenue. The smartness of senior managers in media and entertainment companies is in orchestrating mass marketing campaigns once specific artists are ready for a significant marketing push.

It is not just the urban localities which have the potential to pay for live performances but there are also street theatre companies mushrooming and growing in rural areas. Performers are speaking, singing or dancing in a language that the audience can appreciate, relate to and make an emotional connect. As the range of sophistication levels of audience widens over time , so do expectations relating to enjoyable entertainment.

If yield management geeks have their way, companies could charge a little more certainly for Saturday night or weekend live staged performances.

Live show producers can begin relying on computer algorithms to recommend the highest ticket prices that audiences are likely to pay for each of the available seats at every performance in the theatre for performing arts.

Live performance shows can employ dynamic pricing system to raise seat prices during heavy holiday weeks . So entertainment companies must reach the level of sophistication achieved by airline and hotels continuously using their algorithm to calibrate prices based on demand and ticket purchasing patterns.

 


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.

 


Featured Post

www.cinemarket.io – Buy, Sell & Engage

admin   September 21, 2020

Cinemarket is an online film and TV market for buying and selling rights anytime, anywhere. It’s an innovative platform for film professionals, for both buyers (distributors, OTT platforms, broadcasters, festivals and cinemas) and sellers (sales agents, producers and filmmakers). Pickle chats with ADRIAN LUGOL, Founder and CEO, Cinemarket.io

Adrian Lugol and Florian Glatz met in 2016 whilst working in the technology and creative industries in Berlin. They both wanted to find a way for film professionals to buy and sell film and TV rights in a seamless and secure way, cutting out additional costs. The idea of Cinemarket.io was born.

Tell us about Cinemarket?

Cinemarket is the one-stop-shop for the film industry, the only place where everything from film screening to film licensing, license payments and material delivery can happen in days instead of months.

We began in 2016. We were one of the first to really try to combine the potential of blockchain technology and shared database in bringing the film industry come together.

At the moment what we can do is when you look for films rights, you can browse different filters, what kind of rights you are looking for —  theatrical, VOD, — or the countries or the continent, and for which period of time, exclusive or non exclusive, as entered by the seller to the buyer. It is automated. The Cinemarket platform generates a contract once a buyer and seller agree to buy or sell. The transfer of rights for the period is generated on the back end of the database.

How has been the journey?

The journey was not easy at all. We never gave up, because, we still see the potential. Our project was first presented at the development stage at the Berlinale Talents market hub in 2017. It was supported by the Creative Europe Media programme at the development stage. Our Beta version was unveiled at the Cannes Marché du Film’s NEXT programme in 2018. We went live this May 2020 during Marche.

We have built our team over the years. Our tech team is strong. But, the film industry itself is a bit complex. I will not say film industry is blocked, but a little bit controlled by gatekeepers. And the gatekeepers are people who are in positions for three to four decades and want to maintain status quo.

They like the business to be done in same fashion. They want like people to travel to buy movies. But COVID-19 has accelerated digital space in films. It is a little sad that a virus has shown the potential. But, now nobody has a choice. So everybody adapts. Some people are against our initiative. Sometimes, you wonder if they want to help filmmakers or just care about their own business. 

Sometimes a few people are rude to us. They say, we don’t want to help you and don’t contact us and so on. But, on the other end, there are young talented filmmakers in festivals and markets. For many, who take four or five years to make a movie, they don’t have good experience with the past. We met a producer in Rotterdam, who said that they don’t have sales agents and do everything on their own. Our digital tool can help buy or sell films. We are not Amazon or Netflix. We are a pretty small startup with passion for cinema. It is still going to take sometime for change. But, COVID-19 has accelerated everything. We see it.

Can you illustrate by example of how it works? Why is Cinemarket an exciting place to be?

It’s very simple. Buyers can watch  movies online. make an offer, scout for available rights, buy for a specific time period, or even for few days, exclusive or not, make payment in euro or dollar, revenue share, minimum guarantee or flat fee.

As a seller, you can check the summary of the offer and expected time of money transfer, preview contract. And you will be able to give your films to film festivals for just a few days. 

We have signed deals with Eurovod, T-Port Media, Filmdoo, Perspective Films, Vesoul Asian Film Festival, and Filmotor among others. 

It is a dream for a startup like us to realize that there is not a central meeting point for the film industry where people can make more than just exchanging some news, but also engage in business. In the coming times, we will have to have as many people as possible. We will also soon have four or five languages on our platform to facilitate buying and selling. 

What is the biggest lesson you have learned from the time you have started to now?

When we were ambitious and naive about technology, we started a lot with blockchain two or three years ago. And I  will not say we made wrong investment. In 2017 and 2018,  there was still a lot of R&D to be done. We created a beta where you could login for security reason with your private key on MetaMask. We even stored files on the  blockchain. We could automate payments. In our demo in 2018, if someone is the right owner, and you have someone watching the movie, the right owner receive his/her share in less than three seconds. But we realized that there is too much of a gap for this to happen. It is a reality, that you cannot go directly to the future. It’s too early because the film industry is too slow to adapt.

Today, we are focusing only on the marketplace. We have a lot of interest from film festivals, institutions and big corporations. 

What is it that makes people come to this platform?

Two things. The first thing is filmmakers or producers who are looking to find new ways to promote their films and find distributors. Many look for new digital tools like us because, they give their film to sales agent, who puts it in their catalogue, and you have no option, but to wait. In many cases four or five years. That’s one kind of people who are interested in our platform. We also have buyers who are looking for new content.

We are the first digital European-based film market enabling rights-holders and sales companies to securely showcase new catalogue titles to potential buyers. All formats are permitted, from feature-length films and TV series, to documentaries and shorts.

Can content owners sell rights to universities in UK or USA who buy film rights?

Yes. We have one company with a special license that just looks for university rights, because it’s a specific rights. Producers and filmmakers can sell film rights to universities.

Is the Cinemarket registration free?

So we make sure that people who register with us are film professionals. We don’t allow people to sell porn or propaganda. We cross-check profile with different databases that exist in the world. The registration is free. We take a small cut (2% for works by young emerging filmmakers and 8-10% for big companies) if you sell your film on our platform. If you make a deal, we make a deal. If no money comes to you, we don’t charge you anything. 

How do you make sure that they do the deal with your platform after coming to you?

We can’t. That’s also not our business model. So when we talk to lawyer, they told us, that’s their business model. So when you believe in blockchain and you want to build transparency and fight opacity, you need also to take some risk and believe that people are not all corrupt. 

You always have access to information. When we see deals that happen on our platform, we will contact to see if they are honest. If not, we will kick them out of our platform.

Is film industry unique to digital transformation?

You can try to stop the digital transformation, you can try to stop technical improvements. Every industry has been transformed by digital. And the film is just one of another one. Everybody has their own job, you can use our platform as a sales agent. Everybody in the beginning said Linkedin is going to kill the job of people who are in HR. In the end, people who are in HR are using Linkedin. It is always the approach of how you have your mindset. Innovation doesn’t arrive if there is no problem to solve. And in the film industry, I think in every stage, from financing to production, distribution to exhibition, there are always problems. There are great people, brightest minds in the film industry. But there are also lot of in-between people. We believe in digital transformation.

Sometimes, do you get frustrated running this…  

Frustration exists, but it comes on any challenge. It there is no frustration it is super easy. Everybody would have done it before. And challenges are exciting. My team is great. We have 10 to 12 people who are intelligent, talented and passionate. People who love tech, movies, creativity and marketing. Startup has to be fun. If it’s too easy, it’s not fun. Finding solution to challenges is what makes our work rewarding.

Berlin is one of the startup capitals similar to Silicon Valley?

Yeah, well, but not for the weather. And, weather particularly this year was bad. The summer is horrible. But, the startup scene is about the brains that interconnect. We built our company in the beginning with three or four friends. I don’t think I would have found them in south of Italy or even in south of France. Because people who have ambition, go where the challenge is. That’s what Berlin offers.

Finally, what is the biggest challenge now for films waiting to be sold?

The saddest part is most of the films are created to die on the Hard Drive. And, Hard Drives are like grave of the movies. And it is very sad. I think films should exist. It should be made available to people across cultures. Like this rich history where everybody could have access at any movie anytime, more or less. And one should pay the film rights owner.


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Straight Answers From Alexander Shulgin

admin   July 28, 2020

What is your motto?

In business – Everything is possible. In life- All will be good!

What is your greatest fear?

I have no fears.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself

Weakness.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

#stoneinsteadofhead

Which living person do you most admire?

You shall not make for yourself an idol.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Collecting authentic\ethnic music instruments from all over the world (from every culture of the world).

What is the quality you most like in a man?
Blagorodstvo (The grandeur of character with a big heart)

What is your current state of mind?

Calm happiness.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

None. There is a big deficit of virtues in our world.

On what occasion do you lie?

I try not to lie. I only lie to myself when I’m trying to make it up to myself that I’ve done enough good when I had to do more.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

Some extra kilos.

Which living person do you most despise?

None / I have no rights to despise.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

Blagorodstvo (The grandeur of character with a big heart).

What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Blagodetel (The grandeur of mercy)

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Blagodetel (The grandeur of mercy).

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Create. Future. All will be good.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

God. Life. My work. My family: mom, kids, My Katya.

Which talent would you most like to have?

The talent to heal people, to help them see themselves on their right path.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Nothing. I wasn’t my creator, but there’s a lot to change in my thoughts and actions for the next self-transformation.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Still alive and active / so my greatest achievement will be within next (some) years.

What is your most treasured possession?

My intangible assets: my memories, my knowledge, my IP, my feelings, my emotions etc (you choose).

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

To be separated from God. Then all miseries will come and increase.

What is your greatest regret?

People still fight with each other.


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Nuggets From Animation Thought Leaders

admin   July 21, 2020

The 21st edition of Animation Masters Summit, loaded with multiple sessions attended by industry experts, also saw noted animation director Arnab Chaudhuri posthumously getting conferred with the Legend of Animation Award 2020

The five-day Animation Masters Summit (July 20-24) was organized by the Toonz Media Group. Speaking at the inaugural session, Anuradha Aggarwal, head of Infotainment and Kids, Star India, now owned by Disney, said three crucial aspects that could act as game-changers for the creative industry today are people, technology and quality.

“We strongly believe in the swirling interplay of art and technology. Young people today are creating fantastic content. If they also make use of the right technology, sky is the limit,” she said.

Noted animation director Arnab Chaudhuri was posthumously conferred with the Legend of Animation Award 2020 at the 21st edition of Animation Masters Summit. 

The award was presented for his invaluable contribution to the animation and entertainment industry of India. Arnab Chaudhuri’s wife Ashima Chaudhuri and brother Sudeep Chaudhuri symbolically accepted the award at the inaugural session from Anuradha Aggarwal. The ‘Legend of Animation’ award was instituted by the Toonz Media Group (TMG) as part of the Animation Masters Summit (AMS) 2020.

Anuradha Aggarwal said, “I have the distinct honor of conferring The Legend of animation award to someone who is known for his creativity and storytelling. Arnab Chaudhuri was a beacon of the Indian animation industry. And while he may not be physically present with us today, he is someone who will live forever in our hearts. He has been very closely associated with us at Disney and was a favourite among his peers and his team. His directorial feature Arjun The Warrior Prince not only won accolades from the Indian audiences but gained recognition across the world. He was a creative genius, who was respected beyond measure for his impeccable talent, skill, and for the wonderful person that he was for his distinguished contribution to the animation and entertainment world. In India, it is my great privilege to confer this award posthumously to Arnab Chaudhuri . He will always be with us in spirit.”

Arnab, who passed away on December 25, 2019, was one of the pioneers of the Indian animation industry, and his animation movie ‘Arjun: The Warrior Prince’ is the only animation from India to date to be longlisted for Oscar awards. He was an alumnus of the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, and has worked with leading entertainment organisations like Walt Disney, Turner, and Channel V. Arnab was a true genius who was always ahead of his time.

P Jayakumar, CEO, Toonz Media Group, hoped the summit would be a platform to connect, collaborate and start conversations on forging new ties and creating meaningful content. Toonz would also be soon launching an online learning platform dedicated to animation and creative arts in order to mould new talents in the field,

“Toonz has had an unwavering commitment towards the Art of Animation, and has relentlessly strived to further the growth of animation in India. It is as part of this mission that we conceptualized Animation Masters Summit. The first edition of this event was held 21 years back soon after the establishment of Toonz in 1999. Today, the event has grown and transformed itself into a major platform for not just animation, but for the entire entertainment industry to converge, celebrate and promote diverse  art forms as well as artists.”

He added: “I’m happy to let you all know that Toonz is coming up with a new initiative to promote creative education and moulding new talents in this field. It is an online learning platform dedicated to animation, and creative arts. This platform is being launched by Toonz Academy in association with Bangalore based Native Puppets. Wisdom is basically our response to the changing ecosystem of education and entertainment around the world.”

Speaking on the occasion, Biren Ghose, Country Head, Technicolor India, said even amid current uncertainties, particularly the Covid-19 epidemic, a new narrative of the 21st century was evolving among young creators. “It will be a new language of powerful storytelling that represents our fight back as the human race inspiring the future with the power of young voices”

“Our computer graphics industry has this uncanny mix of creative people, technologists, investors, designers, scientists, and even inevitably, the finance and the business guys who try to make all of this stuff come together in a product or a service. These multiple specialties all contribute to this exciting field of animation,” added Biren Ghose.

Sach Chandaria from the promoter group of Toonz Media spoke at the session. The event was packed with sessions by masters from various fields in the media and entertainment industry across the world. This includes senior cinematographer Ravi K Chandran, who is famous for the works in movies like Virasat, Black, Dil Chahta Hai, and Kannathil Muthamittal, to name a few. National Award-winning composer Shantanu Moitra took another session.