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M&E industry needs to focus on innovation & disruption, say digital experts

Digital revolution continues to gain significance in every sector of India. The Media & Entertainment sector has evolved rapidly over the last year with the emergence of new digital technologies and content distribution models. The 2nd edition of FICCI Knowledge series in association with LA India film Council (LAIFC) was held on October 4 in Mumbai. The 2017 Fast track India Conference focused on building a digital company, the impact of evolving digital infrastructure on content consumption and rise in online piracy. 

The FICCI LAIFC KPMG report, titled The Digital journey – How OTT platforms can remain ‘on demand ready’, was also launched at the event. The report highlights how the era of on-demand content has reached a tipping point with consumption becoming on-demand across mobile screens and going ‘mass’ - particularly on the back of pan India 4G rollouts by telecom operators. OTT consumers continue to demand seamless access to services, compelling stories and value for money. The four pillars of Digital transformation outlined in the report comprise a holistic approach including; clearly defining the organisation’s digital vision and strategy, thorough understanding of the customer proposition, accurately assessing the business design and, lastly, carefully designing the execution plan. 

Vijay Singh, CEO, Fox Star Studios, India in his keynote address highlighted the need for M&E businesses to be future ready. “Digital transformation of the M&E industry is unstoppable and companies will need to focus on innovation & disruption! It will be important to get the Digital building blocks to fall into place - be it in content creation, or getting the right business model to fall into place.” 

At the inaugural, Girish Menon, Partner, Deal Advisory, KPMG India, said, “OTT consumption in India has reached a tipping point, with the 4G rollout and related data wars which have resulted in a dramatic and rapid growth in internet penetration and video consumption. Building a digital business is an evolving process and organisations would need to adopt a systematic approach balancing scalability and flexibility with speed to market and customer centricity.” 

On Building a Robust Enforcement Model to Protect Content In a Digital Economy, Stephen Jenner, VP Communications Asia Pacific, MPA, said, “Around the globe, close collaborations between multiple stakeholders have lead to a number of successful content protection initiatives. This bodes well for growing digital economies, and the many creative people contributing to media and entertainment in those markets.” 

Roadmap to become a digital company 

Ajay Chacko, Co-founder, Arre; Tuhin Menon, President, Culture Machine; Sagar Gokhale, COO, Qyuki Digital Media; and Nachiket Pantvaidya, CEO, ALT Digital Media Entertainment Ltd, spoke on the value chain of a digital company and what it takes to build a robust digital company. The speakers also highlighted some key success factors as well as challenges in creating a sustainable future-ready digital business. The panel was moderated by Neha Punater, Partner – Management Consulting, KPMG India. 

Speaking about the roadmap to become a digital company, Nachiket Pantvaidya noted, “The focus has to shift from just getting big numbers to actually engaging audiences. Watching videos on the internet, especially shows is slowly becoming an integral part of every Indian’s life – Thanks to quality internet being offered by Telco’s at affordable prices. We, at ALTBalaji, believe that this trend can be effectively monetised by offering multi targeted, exclusive, original Indian content at a never before seen scale.” 

He added, “Content is the tipping point. If we look at the investment in television content, it is around Rs 1,000 crore, while OTT content receives roughly Rs 600 crore in investments. Unless you make investment in content, this industry will not get properly framed.” 

Ajay Chacko noted here that building a digital company requires a change in technology. “For television we target the household, but for digital we are targeting individuals. That is the reason why we have our own digital team, but at the same time we have challenges as well, which include measurement. Currently, our only focus is digital,” he added. 

As far as monetisation in OTT is concerned, both subscription and advertisements work. Sagar Gokhale said here, “If it’s a long format show on OTT, people won’t mind paying it. For Qyuki Digital Media, major part of the revenues comes from advertisements.” 

Tuhin Menon, too, agreed that there is definitely space for both advertisements and subscriptions to garner revenues. 

Shedding more light on some keys components for consumers’ demand for content, Gokhale noted that previously there was a 50 per cent split between mobile and computers, whereas today mobiles had an 80 per cent share. He considered Jio as the prime factor responsible for growth in data consumption, especially in the Tier 2 and 3 markets. 

While maintaining that digital is all about consistency, Gokhale also highlighted the importance of analytics. Tuhin Menon added here, “Analytics is used to figure out what content to create. We have a creative team to create content digitally. We have video making technology that helps in formulating automatic video creations.”  

Serving a Digital India 

Saurabh Doshi, Head – Media Partnerships, Facebook, said, “Being passionate or even finicky about user experience is the key to building a successful digital platform. In this age of hyper competition, it is imperative to focus on building a strong brand that is differentiated. With over 200 million people in India every month and millions globally on the platform we think deeply on the best user experience we can provide and Instant Articles, LIVE etc., are such examples.” 

Blaise Fernandes, President & CEO, The Indian Music Industry, said, “Digital India is attracting lots of investments in content creation and distribution over the various digital platforms. This sets off a multiplier effect, employment generation, tax revenues, soft power. While all this happens, it is necessary for protection measures to be in place, glad that FICCI and the LA India Film Council are giving copyright protection in the Internet age adequate weightage in their various forums.”

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