| 15 Apr 2024
Ficci Frames 2013: Media industry lacks reliable data

MUMBAI: Ficci Media & Entertainment Committee chairman Uday Shankar highlighted the key challenges faced by the media and entertainment industry at the inaugural session of Ficci Frames 2013 in Mumbai.

Shankar mentioned that in the last ten years there was a manifold growth in channels, films, newspaper, radio stations and other forms of media. The large growing media and entertainment industry only lacks the skill of man power for the same.

''This industry is an economic enterprise like the best of them and is capable of creating employment and wealth much faster than most other sectors and with the ability to be a force multiplier, like it is in most countries,” Shankar said, adding that the $15-billion industry employs as many as six million people.

“There is lack of an institution to support the growth. There is no proper course for media in India,” he added.

With the sector poised to double in size by 2017 and aid job creation by removing key challenges including stifled freedom of expression, he said that India’s media and entertainment industry has great potential to herald a new era of economic expansion.

Speaking about the challenges, he praised the media industry for being a huge employment generator but at the same time addressed the policies of the government as a huge challenge. “We are hoping for a policy support than resources support.”

Usually, we disagree to agree was the way he started of addressing other major issues for media and entertainment industry in a democratic country like India- freedom of expression.Delivering the theme address at the conclave, Shankar said efforts to curb free speech in a robust democracy like India is one of the biggest challenges that can potentially derail the industry from its trajectory.

“When Satyamev Jayate points to weaknesses in the medical system, doctors are offended. When Jolly LLB creates a courtroom satire, lawyers are offended. Even when a precocious teenager posts a comment on Facebook, some people start baying for her blood,” Shankar said. “What is interesting to me is that we all agree that the role of media is to question the status quo. But with the right to question must come the right to provoke and the right to offend.”

One of the major challenges that the media industry has been facing for ages is the lack of reliable data. He added that the industry doesn’t have basic facts or data that is handy; be it selling of tickets or television programming viewership.

“Numbers are supposed to be the foundations of rational business decisions but how can we make decisions when professionals in the business of numbers can’t get their numbers straight?” he said. “The lack of reliable data is not limited to TAM. In fact, as a TV executive, I am surprised sometimes how I am even able to function. I do not know enough about my viewers – in fact I don’t even know how many of them are there. There are 140 million cable and satellite homes but the measured universe is 62 million households. The country’s premier media agencies can’t even seem to agree on a fact as basic as the size of the advertising market.”

The theme addressed was followed by the release of  (Ficci)-KPMG Media & Entertainment 2013 report released by Jehil Thakkar.

Dr. Soon Tae Park Deputy Minister for Culture, Sports and Tourism in South Korea, Walt Disney International chairman Andy Bird, Ficci president Naina Lal Kidwai, co-chair Ficci Frames and film-maker Ramesh Sippy and secretary general Ficci Dr A Didar Singh shared the dias with Shankar at the inaugural session moderated by filmmaker and co-chair of Ficci’s M&E committee Karan Johar.