#FF14 Day 1: Frames takes transformational route in 15th year

13 Mar,2014

 

By a correspondent

 

The 15th edition of the much anticipated annual event of the Media & Entertainment industry – FICCI Frames 2014, got off to a captivating start in Mumbai on March 12, 2014. The event began with an inaugural session that saw the big guns from the media and allied sectors including the I&B Ministry delve on the theme of the conclave – Transforming Lives – while also highlighting the current state of the M&E sector and its scope for the future.

 

The lineup of the dignitaries for the inaugural session included Harshavardhan Neotia, Vice President, FICCI; Uday Shankar, Chairman, FICCI Media and Entertainment Committee, and CEO, Star India; Punit Goenka, CEO & MD, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd; Shri Bimal Julka, Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India; Shri Srivatsa Krishna, Secretary, Department of IT, BT & ST, Government of Karnataka; H.E. Patrick Suckling, Australian High Commissioner to India and Ajit Pai, Commissioner, FCC, USA.

 

Highlighting the state of the M&E industry in 2013, Uday Shankar said that while there was much talk about doom and gloom in the economy it was not the case for the M&E industry that grew by almost 12 per cent. But he cautioned that the goal of attaining the $100 billion landmark was a distant dream as yet. Mr Uday went on to highlight the role that the government could essay in simplifying several issues facing the industry and how it could work in tandem with the industry in resolving them.

 

Echoing a similar point of view, ZEEL’s Punit Goenka too laid the pitch for a collaborative effort as he said that the M&E sector has played a key role in enhancing the prospects of the economy, especially on the jobs front. “The M&E industry has been a shining example of how an industry could work towards achieving a common goal of inclusive growth and being a facilitator to all concerned. It is a matter of pride for the sector to be employing more than 6 million people with the scope of providing employment to many more in time to come.”

 

Mr. Goenka further highlighted the role that digitization has played in the year gone by, and how it would alter the broadcast landscape in the future. He affirmed to the audience that it was time to give back to the industry for whatever it has given us and that the same should be done by unleashing innovation and creativity as the core. In fact the collective aim should be to transform the lives of the global community and not just India, asserted Goenka.

 

Having been introduced to the various loopholes and issues facing the industry at the introductory session, Shri Bimal Julka, Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting was vocal when he said that it was not just the government but the industry that should take responsibility in finding a solution to the problems at hand. “The role of the government is that of a facilitator, it would be great if the industry takes a collective stand on issues themselves and come to us if at all they face any hurdles.”

 

Highlighting the several initiatives undertaken by the I&B ministry, Mr Julka said that the first two phases of digitization have met with reasonable success in about 42 cities and it could be credited as being the smoothest and fastest such initiative of its kind. The focus now would be on Phase 3 & 4 of the drive where an additional 110 million STBs are scheduled to be rolled out. “While there are a few issues concerning the digitization exercise, we are taking efforts to sort them out including at the level of broadcasters, MSOs, LCOs etc. But the good thing is that digitization has managed to bring in transparency in the broadcast sector, which was the main goal of the whole exercise.”

 

Mr Julka said that the I&B ministry was also concerned about the content that was being shown to the viewers and urged the broadcasters to practice self-regulation. With 800 channels already existing and a further 250 plus awaiting clearances, it was important for broadcast companies to figure out how to dish out content that is accepted by the viewer.

 

Mr Julka also touched upon the challenges facing the industry including control on monopoly & cross-media ownership, content monitoring, transponder capacity problem facing DTH players etc.

 

The session proceeded to an engaging perspective on the US broadcast market that was provided by Ajit Pai, Commissioner, FCC, USA and also a keynote address by Shri Srivatsa Krishna, Secretary, Department of IT, BT & ST, Government of Karnataka.

 

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