India to Become a Teleport Hub-I& B Secretary at CII Media and Entertainment Summit

India to Become a Teleport Hub-I& B Secretary  at CII Media and Entertainment Summit !

Information and Broadcasting (I&B)Ministry is actively considering  steps to make India a teleport hub enabling the country to become an up-linking/downlinking  centre like Hong Kong and Singapore. The Ministry will soon hold a consultations  with industry to discuss, modalities, challenges and road map for making India a teleport hub.

This was disclosed by Mr Uday Kumar Varma, Secretary, I&B Ministry while addressing “ India-The Big Picture”, the CII Media & Entertainment Summit 2012 today in New Delhi. Mr Varma said that India becoming a teleport hub  could be instrumental in attracting  accelerated flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) i as also state-of-the-art technology and can help move up in the value chain in content generation. The recent decision of the government to allow 74 per cent FDI in DTH, IPTV, mobile TV etc. are some of the steps that have been taken  in this direction and underscored that those steps would be game changers to make India a digitally happening place.

Mr Varma said that many positive steps would be taken in revamping the FM Radio to enhance its reach and content. The empowered Group of Ministers are looking into some of the grey areas in the auction of 839 new FM radio stations across over 290 towns and cities in  the country. “ We hope to complete the auction of the  first tranche of the stations by the end of the financial year, “ he added. The government is also taking steps to restructure National  Broadcasting Corporation by enabling Prasar Bharthi to recruit fresh talents and restructuring its financial flows.

Mentioning  that the government would be celebrating 100 years of cinema of India with the support of the film industry, Mr Varma invited the doyens of the Indian film industry to join the tableaux  to be presented at the Republic Day Parade 2013 in New Delhi by walking down the Rajpath that day. He alsomentioned about the proposed National Film Heritage Mission (NFHM) with the objectives of undertaking frame-by-frame picture and sound restoration of more than 2500 films that arean important component of the  Indian film industry. The Mission with a budget of  Rs 400 crore would also look at  constructing preservation vaults to international standards for archiving the restored material and for conducting workshops and training .

Referring to the impact of piracy on the growth of the film industry, Mr Varma said the government proposed to carry out an all – encompassing multi-media campaign during the 12th Plan period involving all stakeholders and film and music industries. He also said that the government would set up a Film Commission that would enable institution of a single window clearance system for shooting in India. He disclosed that in this regard his ministry has signed an MOU with ministry of tourism to work towards  promoting India as a global film shooting destination.

To give an impetus to an impetus to animation , gaming and VFX industry, the government would set up Centre of Excellence that would produce technical professionals to cater to the need of  high end human resources and IPR creation, under public –private partnership. The first such centre would come at Mohali, near Chandigarh by the end of the financial year. Also, the ministry is seriously thinking of increasing the reach of social media and launched its own U tube channel.

Mr Varma disclosed that to complete the digitization drive in four metros, on an average 45-50,000 set top  boxes are being installed  every day and said that the digitization would be completed by the end of the month. “ The transformation, we all agree, will bring in rich dividends to the entire broadcasting industry, government and importantly the people of the country,” he added.

The discussion that followed was participated by the industry leaders and ferreted out a number of concerns, challenges and drew up a road map for boosting the media and entertainment sector. The discussants included Mr Amit Khanna, Chairman, CII National Committee on M&E and Chairman, Reliance Entertainment, Mr Uday Shankar, CEO Star India, Mr Andy Kaplan, President, Worldwide Network, Sony Picture television and Mr Ronnie Scewvala, Managing Director, The Walt Disney Co

The  discussants agreed that M&E should emerge as a 100 billion dollar industry in the conceivable future and for this stakeholders have a major role to play. While the government has to lay a proactive policy framework, the industry should work towards enriching the content, innovation and strict observance to IPR rules. The industry felt that for the long term growth of the industry, business model should undergo a drastic change. Presently, the business model is dependent on B2B, thereby meaning that the revenues have to be realized from advertisements. More stress have to be laid on B2C concept, which would mean that subscription income should form an important component in the overall  revenue flows.