| 22 Feb 2024
Ficci Frames 2016 Special : Digital Divide and the necessity to save intellectual properties

MUMBAI: On day one of Ficci Frames 2016, broader aspects of digital evolution and the elements that directly or indirectly affect the entertainment industry were discussed.

Moderated by Pranjal Sharma, the session that discussed 'Digital Divide' comprised panelists - Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of The India Today Group Aroon Purie, President and Managing Director of Discover Asia-Pacific Arthur Bastings, Group CEO of Viacom 18 Sudhanshu Vats, Managing Director of Disney India Siddharth Roy Kapur, Executive Director & CEO of NDTV Group Vikram Chandra and Hungama CEO Hungama Neeraj Roy.

Siddharth Roy Kapur highlighted the difference in the television industry between the developed and emerging markets on the basis of economic shares that comes through per family. For an emerging market like India, better information structure and moderation of data could enhance the market, he said.

Sudhanshu Vats accepted that adapting to the digital needs of the consumers is essential. Vats pointed out the newly launched Viacom 18 application 'Voot' and explained how the initiative ensures the consumer gains 'more and more' data. Aroon Purie acknowledged the need to adapt but reminded the content would be shared "only if it is good enough."

Neeraj Roy explained how a common aggregator for the leading content maker does not provide the solution, stating that there are only seven major content creators in the industry in the country today.

On moving forward, Arthur Bastings said, "Digital goods have the ability to act as cashback.

Radical new changes have affected the industry of music - and that extends to other sectors of entertainment (film and television). The following session discussed the necessity of saving intellectual properties in the digital world that recognises no boundaries.

"A weak legal and regulatory ecosystem has been a growing concern for the stability of intellectual properties," remarked President (Legal & Regulatory) Zee Network. The panelists agreed on the fact that new approaches need to be taken to ensure the protection of content and copyright issues. In an emerging market like India, several investment restrictions affect economic growth on a whole, and the factor has been concerning for several reasons.

Vice President, Regional Legal Counsel, Asia Pacific - MPAA - Michael Schlesinger reminded that, however, IPs need to be protected but also provided the example of how music was taken down on several websites citing more 'value' was provided to distributors over content creators.

To simplify the issue, Zee Network's President of Legal & Regulatory affairs Avindra Mohan said, "We have been stuck in this war since 2003. The guidelines and legal rules need to be updated to tackle the issue." While Mr. Mohan spoke about the issues haunting Indian market, Director General of WIPO - Francis Gurry - focused on the obstacles on a global level. Mr. Gurry asked for the ISPs to be defended and how the content continues to remain the most vital aspect.

Echoing the idea, Sr. Vice President (Legal & Regulatory) Star India, Pulak Bagchi said, "Imagine the Indian government ask Bill Gates to sell all the Microsoft versions and its tools today, on the prices that were relevant in 2003." Bagchi's example also highlights why international parties hesitate on investing in Indian IPs, and the archaic guidelines and regulations avoid the growth of intellectual property. For the session that discussed on surviving the digital divide, the panelists highlighted the challenges that will be most daunting as policy makers and media execs.

The panelists for the session included - Vice President, Regional Legal Counsel, Asia Pacific-MPAA Michael Schlesinger, Sr. Vice President (Legal & Regulatory), Star India Pulak Bagchi, Secretary General of WIPO Francis Gurry and President of Legal & Regulatory affairs, Zee Network Avindra Mohan.