Anirban Roy Choudhury
Media

"Nearly a million people in Media and Entertainment may lose jobs": Sanjay Gupta, Google

The new chairman of FICCI's Media and Entertainment Committee who took the baton from Uday Shankar, Vice President, The Walt Disney - Asia and Chairman Star and Disney India concluded by saying, "We believe we can be the Creative Powerhouse that delivers globally and inspires the World."

"We are going through one of the most uncertain periods in our living history. Through this period, the Media & Entertainment sector has been hit very hard. The studios are just about getting back, cinema halls are still shut and will continue to be so. Most of the people continue to work from home, not everyone is comfortable getting a newspaper delivered to their homes and the advertising revenues, which is the lifeline of this industry, are down anywhere from 50% to 70% over the last few months," said Sanjay Gupta while addressing for the first time as chairman, Media and Entertainment Committee, FICCI.

Country manager and vice president of Google, Sanjay Gupta in his address this morning emphasised on the impact of COVID-induced disruption on the media and entertainment industry of the country. He said, "The world has changed in the last 4 months!"

Through direct and indirect employment, the Media & Entertainment sector employed close to 5 million people in 2019. "If I look at the full year 2020, we will see the sector shrink from $20 billion to $15 billion," said Gupta. Adding, "Even bigger challenge is the impact on jobs and the livelihood of those impacted. As we find ways to adapt to this new normal, it is estimated that around 15% to 20% of our workforce may lose their jobs, potentially impacting nearly a million people."

Gupta believes that the pandemic has forced the entire world into a conversation about trade, interdependence and economic recovery. "And to my mind, this is the moment for us, as an industry, to usher in a fundamental shift in the way the M&E sector works and is perceived by the world," he asserted.

The world, he feels, needs to see India, not just as an M&E sector solving for India - but as a Creative Powerhouse that delivers globally and inspires the world!" To realise this opportunity in India, we need collective effort both from within the industry, as well as the government," he said.

Former Star India's country head opined that the country has the stories and the storytellers! "The Indian media industry is the biggest in the world by output. Over 500,000 hours of television content is made every year, 80,000 newspapers are published daily and more than 1,600 feature films are produced each year. 98 per cent of this output is conceptualised, shaped and produced in India. Each piece is uniquely crafted, stamped through local assembly lines, distributed locally and very often exported to various parts of the world," said Gupta.

"Very few industries can claim this extent of indigenous creation. Be it Electronics, Handsets or Auto, even with factories in India, they assemble parts shipped from various countries in the world. In my mind, there can’t be a more compelling ‘Make In India’ story for this country than the media & entertainment industry. We are one of the global leaders in technology – across graphics, animation, VFX – that is completely revamping the contours of storytelling. In fact, our technology is powering the world! The dragons in the ‘Game Of Thrones’ were created by an animation studio in Mumbai. Even more than a decade back, the visual effects for 'Avatar' were powered by an Indian firm," he added.

According to Gupta's assessment, the industry that had a revenue of $20 billion in 2019 can be $100 billion one by 2030! "With forward-looking policy initiatives, simplification of the taxation framework and adopting a light-touch regulatory approach we can enable the industry to get clarity and ensure that companies can invest with a long term view to leverage the opportunity available in front of us," he asserted.

The new chairman of FICCI's Media and Entertainment Committee who took the baton from Vice President, The Walt Disney - Asia and Chairman Star and Disney India concluded by saying, "We believe we can be the Creative Powerhouse that delivers globally and inspires the World! The opportunity is to not only ‘Make in India’ but “Light up the World”!"