From dependency on advertising revenue, standing of Indian content business to lack of talent training facility, Shankar highlighted the issues faced by the industry
Even as the Indian media and entertainment industry has grown by leaps and bounds on the back of digital proliferation, it continues to face challenges in certain areas, “The biggest bane of this industry especially for print, TV and digital remains its disproportionate dependence on advertisements,” Uday Shankar, president, The Walt Disney Company, APAC and chairman of Star and Disney India, said. Shankar was speaking at the 21st edition of FICCI Frames being held virtually due to Covid-19. According to him, as the industry has grown so has its dependency on advertising revenue. Valued at a billion dollars in 2000, advertising revenue accounts for nearly $10 billion today and has been a distraction for the players in the industry.
Drawing examples from the other international markets, Shankar spoke about how media and entertainment (M&E) industries have managed to build a direct-to-consumer relationship where consumers pay for the content/product, something which the Indian M&E industry has neglected to do. “We, as the members of the M&E industry, are all guilty of being shortsighted. We subsidised our products for buyers and the consumers and let the advertisers fill the gap. This setup has proven to be a major setback, and the pandemic has shown us. If the industry has to grow, it needs to shed its dependency on advertisement,” he added.
Next Shankar pointed out the issues the content business in India. From aspiring to simply top the TRP charts in the TV sector to working with regulators, among others are some of the reasons behind the Indian content business not being able to enter the global platform as other smaller countries such as South Korea, Israel and Turkey. “Due to our small ambition, we have not been able to invest in the content business and taken our content to the global domain. Unless we start becoming a bigger player or a factor in the global content consumption space, the business will always be suboptimal,” he noted.
Lastly, Shankar addressed the need to expand and create a better talent funnel for the industry. According to him, the lack of a high-quality supply funnel that trains writers, technicians, actors directors, among others, is a stumbling block for the industry.