CII Summit: Future of content business models

By Sumantha Rathore , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media | February 21, 2011
The panel discussed the impact of content across platforms. In today's world, iPads, tablets and new devices play an important role in how the content is created and customised for all platforms.

The day-long CII Summit, held at the Hyatt Regency in Delhi on February 18, saw the media fraternity discussing various issues concerning the industry at large.

The second session of the day dealt with the emerging opportunities for content creators in the world of new media. The session, moderated by Sameer Manchanda, chairperson and managing director, Den Networks, had panellists including Ramesh Sippy, president, The Film & Television Producers Guild of India, Rahul Johri, senior vice-president, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, Sam Balsara, chairperson and managing director, Madison World, and Man Jit Singh, chief executive officer, Sony Entertainment Network.

Manchanda asked Singh if people are ready to consume television content on new media, and does it worry him that it will eat into the share of television consumption. In answer to that Singh said, "New media is here to stay and we have to embrace it. People are going to consume the media the way they want to."

He further emphasised that new media gives an opportunity to engage the audiences even more deeply. "It helps increase the viewership of television channels and offers us a completely different way to monetise our library of content."

Moving on to Balsara, Manchanda asked if advertising and media buying will also undergo changes, with the new media becoming a sought after source of television content consumption. To this, Balsara replied, "Although print and television account for 85 per cent of advertising, I've been hearing about adoption of content by new media for quite some time now. Advertising in new media in our country, excluding search, is still very low, but adoption in India is finally taking off, and there is no doubt about this."

Balsara further added, "I'm sure, as new media and technologies come up, measurement systems will stay aboard to inform us about viewership patterns. It doesn't matter to us whether they are watching in a linear fashion or a non-linear fashion." If that data does not come, advertisers won't support the medium, he added.

He also added that although lots of people watch ads on YouTube, it is still not able to monetise it like television because on YouTube, one does not get the data on who is watching what, and therefore, television gets the money and YouTube lags behind. "Tomorrow, when new media grows, we would need more systematic data. Else, advertisers won't put huge money in the medium," he said.

Manchanda asked Sippy what he thought about the fate of films in new media and whether big films would be launched on the new media platform. Sippy replied that films are already being launched on YouTube within days of its theatre launch. "There is this big problem of piracy, the biggest curse for the film fraternity. We do not have to stop any medium from showing films, but we need to regulate it so that everyone gets their share of revenue," said Sippy.

Sippy further added, "Whenever a new technology comes in, it is the youth who is most excited about it. The 15-30 age group forms the core consumer group of the new media and this is also the core group that watches movies in theatres. So, we need to work in tandem, which is mutually beneficial for everyone."

Speaking about how Discovery has tuned its strategy with respect to consumption of new media, Johri said, "We are trying to modify our content for the new media from that of the content available on the channel, but until now, we haven't come across a single robust new media platform. That makes our task difficult."

He said that the new devices have to move to the next level as well because the experience of watching content on mobile is very different from doing it on television. Mobile content has to be short and crisp.

The panel also agreed that though technology is there, adaptation will take time. There is still a shortage of killer applications for new media and unless this is rectified, the growth of the medium will not happen.

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