How many things does the Govt want to regulate? asks Uday Shankar

Speaking on Day 4 of the HT Leadership Summit 2020, Uday Shankar, Chairman, Star & Disney India, spoke about how cinema halls will witness a resurgence post pandemic and box office collections will go up. He also spoke about the 2020 edition of IPL, the TRP scam and much more.

With cinema theatres being one of the first public spaces to shut down and the last to get permission to reopen, box office collections and the film exhibition business are at their lowest points. Though the absence of new content and surge in COVID-19 infections has delayed recovery, the sector is poised for comeback.

On being asked to comment on the presence of gratuitous content on the OTT platforms, Shankar said, “We should not be insensitive to the country and the culture. We should not take the freedom for granted. Some amount of responsible behaviour is very important. This is a sensitive country. I think this is what happens when the global services come into the country and disregard everything. They believe that what works in one country can work in every country. This is the backlash.”

Shankar was also asked to comment on the recent TRP scandal plaguing the television industry. Without going into details, he asked, “How many things does the Government want to regulate? In the middle of the pandemic when so many things are trying for urgent attention, is that the most important thing?”

In March, when the IPL was postponed, people were hopeful that things would return to normal within weeks. However, as the lockdown progressed, people were “starved of content and live sports,” Shankar pointed out, adding, “That’s when we realised that whenever the IPL happened, it would be a really big one. However, we also knew that there would be huge challenges. This would be the first time that the IPL would be played in empty stadiums. So, we knew that it could be the biggest or it could be the most disastrous.”

He further said that the viewership of IPL 2020 is over 25-30% higher than the previous iterations. “It’s about power of cricket and people’s desires to let life prevail over everything else,” he concluded.


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