March 24, 2011 12:24:46 PM IST Rajesh Kumar Singh, Glamsham Editorial
FICCI Frames 2011 opened yesterday with the lighting of the traditional lamp by Anushka Sharma, the rising female star on the Bollywood horizon, joined by Sachin Pilot, the Union Minister of State for Communications and IT and other dignitaries including Yash Chopra, Kamal Haasan, Karan Johar, Harsh Mariwala, James Murdoch, and the Canadian High Commissioner to India and Bhutan, Stewart Beck.
In his keynote address James Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive, News Corporation for Europe and Asia, while strongly advocating the cause of the broadcast industry called for complete digitization of the delivery and distribution infrastructure to make it 100% addressable and to further ease the FDI investment norms by the Government of India to allow foreign broadcast networks to pump in money that will be needed to achieve this end. He felt these initiatives would 'unlock the potential of India's creative sector' and provide better choices to the viewers. He was critical of the prevailing regulatory system that is heavily skewed in favor of the cable operators and leaves the channels entirely dependent on advertising revenues for their sustenance, which is not good enough to develop quality content for the diversified needs of the domestic consumers. He also exhorted that the existing players should be allowed to integrate vertically.
It has been the constant refrain of the broadcast industry that they don't get their fair share in the subscription pie due the lack of an addressable cable network in India. They believe that digitization will solve this problem and will improve their bottom line.
(Rajesh Kumar Singh is Editorial Consultant for Festivals and Markets for BollywoodTrade.com. He is a filmmaker, critic and market analyst)