Despite witnessing a 9% increase in 2019, the industry might witness a flat growth or a drop in revenue in 2020 due to coronavirus
The Indian media and entertainment (M&E) industry recorded a rise of 9% to Rs 1.8 lakh crores in 2019 as opposed to Rs 1.6 lakh crores in 2018, according to the latest FICCI-EY report. Titled, ‘The era of consumer A.R.T’, the report, which was collated before the advent of coronavirus in India, expects the sector to reach Rs 2.42 lakh crores by 2022 at a CAGR of 10%, while is unclear on the projection for 2020. ”If the lockdown and theatres and film and serial production shut down lasts for a month or two, the industry will see a year of flat growth. However, if it goes beyond that time period, the industry will actually see a decline in revenue from 2019,” Ashish Pherwani, partner and media and entertainment leader, EY India, said.
For Pherwani, while TV subscription grew 7% to Rs 46.8 thousand crores in 2019, it could incur anywhere between -4% – 2% of degrowth/growth in 2020 due to new tariff order (NTO) 2.0. Additionally, the government’s edict of 21 days of lockdown, wherein everything from theatres to production of film and serials have been shut, has also impacted the M&E industry. As a result of the lockdown, the general entertainment channels (GEC) will soon run out of fresh content to provide the viewers with. According to Pherwani, the GEC broadcasters are looking for new avenues to retain their viewers. “From repurposing OTT content to the TV, repackaging nostalgia by bringing back old shows to maybe introducing user-generated-content (UGC) to the TV, broadcasters are thinking of everything to entertain their viewers,” he added.
In 2019, the TV industry grew 6.5% to Rs 74 thousand crores with GECs and movie channels leading the viewership with 74%, as per the report. The news genre witnessed nearly a 9% growth of total viewership because of several key announcements by the central and state governments such as Article 370, the Citizenship Amendment Act, and general elections. Cricket emerged as the big winner in 2019 as it accounted for over 80% of the sports viewership, up from 70% last year, due to the ICC World Cup. However, this year, while the news genre continues to see a growth, sports viewership will be impacted due to coronavirus as the outbreak has resulted in major sporting events being either postponed. For instance, Indian Premier League (IPL) which was scheduled to begin from March 29, has been postponed.
As for digital media, the report claims that it grew by 31% to Rs 22.1 thousand crores in 2019 and as per Pherwani, the medium will witness a high growth this year due to coronavirus. In 2019, digital advertising grew 24% to Rs 19.2 thousand crores driven by increased consumption of content on digital platforms and marketeers’ preference to measure performance. Subsequently, pay digital subscribers crossed one crore for the first time as sports and other premium content were put behind a paywall, enabling subscription revenue to grow 106% to Rs 2,900 crores. Digital consumption grew across platforms where video viewers increased by 16%, audio streamers rose 33% while news consumers increased by 22%.
According to the report, the Indian film segment grew 10% in 2019 to reach Rs 19.1 thousand crores driven by the growth in domestic theatrical revenues and both rates and volume of digital/ OTT rights sold. Domestic film revenues crossed Rs 115 thousand crores with gross Box Office collections for Hindi films at Rs 4,950 crores – the highest ever for Hindi theatricals. Overseas theatricals revenues fell 10% to Rs 2,700 crores despite more films being released abroad primarily as films with superstars didn’t perform as well in 2019. 108 Hollywood films were released in 2019 as compared to 98 in 2018. The gross box office collections of Hollywood films in India (inclusive of all their Indian language dubbed versions) grew 33% to reach Rs 1,600 crore.
In 2020, the film industry stands to lose anywhere between Rs 300 crore – Rs 400 crore every weekend. The big budget films will eventually be released and will be able to minimise its loss, however the tier 2 films will lose out on release windows. “Due to this, more movies will be released on the digital platforms. Films which were not getting a satellite-cable deal, will get a deal now because broadcasters need fresh content,” Pherwani stated.