Shailesh Kapoor | FICCI-Frames: 14 and counting

15 Mar,2013

By Shailesh Kapoor

 

The 14th edition of FICCI-Frames concluded in Mumbai yesterday. I remember attending the inaugural one back in 2000, held at a much lower scale, and if I recall correctly, over two days, instead of the three-day schedule now.

 

Many such conventions and events begin to fall apart in their second or third year. So, the fact that FICCI-Frames has been conducted for 14 years without a break is no mean achievement in itself. It has arguably got more commercial and less “conventional” over these years, but it that’s what it takes for an event of this nature to keep running year after year, one would gladly accept the commercialization.

 

The bringing together of the various sectors of the media and entertainment industry, as well as the government and the regulatory bodies, gives FICCI-Frames the stature it enjoys today. However, there is an aspect of the event that may be worth worrying about in the editions to come – that of its positioning.

 

FICCI-Frames is clearly a “networking” event today, than being a “learning” event. Over the last few years, with an enhanced Bollywood presence at Frames, it has also acquired some “glamour” connotations, apparent from the presence of gossip journalists in the media centre.

 

Now, I’m not sure if Frames acquired this networking + glamour positioning by accident or design. But I’d like to believe that they certainly didn’t design to remove “learning” from their intended positioning. But learning has idneed become an incidental aspect of the event.

 

Yes, there are some stimulating panel discussions and keynotes, but those are far and few in between. A lot of discussion tends to scratch the surface, with reasons ranging from choice of panelists to poorly conceived topic to political correctness to (the most common one) unprepared moderators.

 

There’s another off-shoot of the learning debate, and that’s to do with the nature of the delegates at FICCI Frames. When it first started, Frames attracted a wider mix of executives across levels. Many middle management executives could be seen at the event, with a genuine desire to learn something new.

 

By pricing the event at more than Rs. 10,000 per delegate, FICCI has effectively made it the events of haves vs. have-nots. I’d like to believe that the biggest convention of the media and entertainment industry should be inclusive in its approach, attracting many more than the 2,500 delegates it currently manages.

 

But irrespective of the positioning it acquires over the next decade, FICCI Frames has managed what would have been unthinkable back in the 1990s – an industry forum that’s no pushover!

 

Shailesh Kapoor is founder and CEO of media & entertainment research and consulting firm Ormax Media. He spent nine years in the television industry before turning entrepreneur. He can be reached at his Twitter handle @shaileshkapoor

 

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