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Senior executives from India’s motion picture, television and digital industries converge at FICCI’s Fast Track India forum

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On October 4, 2017, senior executives from India’s motion picture, television and digital industries came together for the 2017 Fast Track India: Digital Building Blocks, a Knowledge Series forum by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce (FICCI).

The event that was in association with the Los Angeles India Film Council (LAIFC) and supported by the Centre for Content Promotion (CCP) focused on evolution of content strategies from creation to monetization, the need for organizations to have a digital DNA in order to remain relevant today, the impact of evolving digital infrastructure on content consumption patterns and the rise of online piracy  threats and remedies.

Welcoming the dignitaries and delegates, Dr. Ashish Kulkarni, chairman, FICCI Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics Forum said, “This Knowledge Series has become a significant platform to discuss issues and share knowledge related to the digital media”.

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 FICCI LAIFC KPMG report entitled The Digital journey – How OTT platforms can remain ‘on demand ready’ launched at the event highlighted that, 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 roll outs 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 organization’s digital vision and strategy, thorough understanding of the customer proposition, accurately assessing the business design and, lastly, carefully designing the execution plan.

In his keynote address, Vijay Singh, CEO, Fox Star Studios, India 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,” he averred.

Speaking at the meet, Girish Menon, Co-Head, Media & Entertainment, KPMG in 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.

This has also fundamentally altered the consumption demographics and patterns, with OTT viewership becoming more mass. Organizations can no longer afford to take baby steps and will need to wholeheartedly commit to building out their digital businesses. However, pivoting to a digital business requires a change in organizational DNA and a ’digital first’ mindset. Building a digital business is an evolving process and organizations 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 3 those markets.”

Speaking about the roadmap to become a digital company, Nachiket Pantvaidya, CEO, ALT Digital Media Entertainment Ltd. observed, “Watching videos on 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 monetized by offering multi targeted, exclusive, original Indian content at a never before seen scale.”

In the second panel discussion on Digital infrastructure transforming content consumption, Jamie Kenney, Business Head, BARC said “India’s digital ecosystem is more advertising driven. As infrastructure grows, digital content consumption will grow and that makes measuring this landscape important. Currently everyone is speaking a different language when it comes to defining measurement. BARC India’s Ekam measurement will provide consistency and comparability to advertisers and publishers. Like in television, our transparent cross platform measurement will help the industry grow and show true ROI.”

Saurabh Doshi, Head – Media Partnerships, Facebook, briefed, “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.”

According to Gaurav Gandhi, COO, Viacom 18 Digital Ventures, “The transition into the new era where there is big focus in building direct to consumer digital businesses, one can derive substantially better results if one uses the power and the collaboration of the entire organisation – particularly the established broadcast businesses. Successful businesses will be built when both units (digital & broadcast) synergistically operate and when one ensures participation of maximum number of people in the organisation in this digital journey.”

Other eminent speakers at the Fast Track India forum included Ajay Chacko, Co-founder, Arre, Akash Banerji, Voot, Hiren Gada, Shemaroo Entertainment Ltd. Aamod Gupte, Eros International, Anju Jain, Disney India, Thomas George, Viacom 18, Rajkumar Akella, Rentrak, Tuhin Menon, Culture Machine, and Sagar Gokhale, Qyuki Digital Media.

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