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M&E can grow from the present $24 bn to $100 bn by 2030: K Madhavan

The 9th edition of the CII Big Picture Summit commenced in its virtual avatar yesterday (December 16, 2020) with an address by K Madhavan, Chairman, CII National Committee on Media & Entertainment and Managing Director, Star & Disney India, in the inaugural session. Madhavan summed up the difficult year for the M&E industry in 2020 and how the industry is striving to recover to its pre-COVID-19 levels and get back on track to growth.

Following is the text of Madhavan’s address...

Good morning to you all, and welcome to the 9th edition of the CII Big Picture Summit. Even though this is the ninth edition, there is something here that is happening for the first time – the fact that it is a virtual event, which makes it different and unique. We hope that we all are able to meet physically to celebrate the milestone of a decade of the Big Picture Summit next year.

2020 has been a year that has taken a toll on most of us. In my many years in the industry, disruption on this scale had never before been imagined. Content production was halted, live sports and events were cancelled, cinema halls and theatres were shut down. With a worldwide reduction in demand for services and major cuts in advertising spends – the pandemic enforced a long pause across the entire industry. However, the entire Media and Entertainment industry came together to engage and entertain millions of viewers while they were homebound.

In these times, entertainment consumption surged across mediums such as television, gaming, and digital streaming platforms. Television and video streaming increased to a peak of 37% higher than pre-lockdown levels.

Live Sports made a stupendous comeback with the IPL 2020. Not only was the IPL the biggest live cricketing tournament to be held during the pandemic, but it was also a beacon of hope and normalcy for the nation. The tournament broke all the previous records – with a 23% increase in viewership over last year. The response from the fans and advertisers was heartening and it set a positive tone for the festive season. It acted as a game-changer for the sector and helped revive the media spends for the whole industry.

The film industry showed resilience and adapted to the ‘direct-to-digital’ model, which helped launch new movies across digital streaming platforms. Cinema halls have taken longer to reopen, but I am confident that fans will soon be watching their favourite movies on the big screen, in safety.

Over the next three days, at the Big Picture Summit, you will get to soak in the words of more than 100 speakers, from both government and the industry. There will be several speakers from overseas, virtual format has its advantages. There will be sessions with state governments as well as with representatives of the regional entertainment industry. A special curtain-raiser for the upcoming India International Film Festival in Goa in January 2021 will be presented by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. This Summit should give us a chance to discuss what has worked, and what hasn’t – and how we can put India’s Media & Entertainment sector on the global stage.

As usual, the CII report on Big Picture Summit will be released later in this session which presents a panoramic view of the Indian media and entertainment industry – how it fared in 2020, what were the viewership trends, what was the impact of the pandemic on advertising, which medium got an edge and going forward what will be the role of Indian content in the global arena.

In 2020: Industry, business, and most importantly, people & livelihoods have all been affected. Especially in the Indian Media and Entertainment industry, the losses were immeasurable as several glittering stars left us to forever shine bright in the sky.

This industry has the potential to grow from the present $24 billion to $100 billion by 2030, which is what our vision is and target should be. The potential of the industry is untapped – Pay TV is still at 120 million of the 300 million households in India, we only have 500 million smartphones in a country which has over 950 million mobile subscribers. The pandemic has driven customers to adopt technology as never before – as seen in the growth in e-commerce, online video, and digital gaming – and this can drive the sector to new heights.

To achieve this potential, we need a lighter touch on regulation and a much simpler governance structure in place. There are various kinds of restrictions that this sector is being subjected to, although it has within it to make India truly atmanirbhar. We can increase our exports, increase the number of jobs being given to young talent, and most importantly, make India a global leader in content if policies are shaped as per the requirements of the industry. We have senior representatives of government present in this session today. I urge them to look into the demands of the industry and facilitate its growth.

We have struggled our way out of what I would call the worst time the industry has ever seen. I invite you all to derive maximum benefit from this summit – visit the expo, attend the plenary sessions, and immerse yourself in this unique experience.

Thank you and welcome once again.

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