@FF12: Time to experiment with technology

16 Mar,2012

By A Correspondent

 

Now that digitisation is set to come into effect from July 1, the convergence of media assumes greater significance. This was the topic of discussion in the second session on Thursday at FICCI Frames 2012.

 

In a session moderated by Neeraj Roy, MD & CEO, Hungama, Sanket Akerkar, MD, MicrosoftIndiatalked about “The Converged future – Multiple platforms, technologies &transforming applications for media and entertainment”. The theme of his keynote address was significance and emergence of digitisation.

 

To illustrate how connected we are today, he cited an example of how a teenaged son of a friend uses Xbox to connect with friends he was with at school and play games. Though this may common enough, he added that the group of friends used the very same environment to connect and do their homework. This can also be taken as learning life lessons of surviving in the digital world.

 

Mr Akerkar said that the consumer lifestyles are controlling the conversation, citing the example the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. The industry has to takes its cues from what the consumers want. According to him, even ads will now be consumed as per the consumers’ choice and the advertisers can’t dictate the place and time for the consumption. Now the people are going to become the content creator and content consumer. The main challenge for the industry is now to seamlessly blend and enable technology to become user friendly.

 

Jonathan Bill, SVP Internet and Data Services, Vodafone joined the conversation to discuss how the telco-eco system can offer better opportunity to the media and entertainment industry to monetise the services.

 

Mr Bill said thatIndia’s telco-eco system is a hyper competitive market which the lowest price points in the global market. It generates the lion share of revenue in the entertainment stream for Vodafone.

 

Mr Roy said that technological progress has enabled applications that recognise the customer preferences, be it the Internet or the phone.

 

Mr Akerkar agreed and added thatIndiawill have 25 million smartphones by the next year and this connectivity gives the opportunity to the industry to experiment in creating applications for the users. He said that the technology is moving ahead at such speed that one only needs to use their imagination to think ‘what next innovation’.

 

All the speakers were in agreement that once the digitisation bill comes into effect, the choice of content available to the user will be limitless. As Mr Akerkar said, “the challenge will be to separate content, be it mainstream or user generated into what is relevant or not.”

 

They also discussed the feasibility of creating video content for mobile devices. Mr Bill was of the opinion thatIndiahas huge possibilities as it is the largest internet video consumption market. Mr Roy said thatIndiais poised to become the largest internet market in the next 3-4 years, surpassing evenChina.

 

The speakers discussed how even gaming had huge possibilities if one was to look at co-developing games along with films. Mr Akerkar said that there was a business model waiting to happen if one figured how to reduce the initial cost of investment and figure out how to connect a known brand (film) and gaming.

 

But the biggest challenge is the transition to the digital eco system. It is not enough to rely only on advertising revenues. Mr Bill said that the way forward is moving from free Internet content to paid content.

 

 

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