The three-day event of the business of Media and Entertainment (M&E) was on the theme, ‘Digital: Divide or Dividend’. This time, the event was partnered by Canada, which has sent a 100-member delegation led by the Mayor of Toronto, John Tory.
Reality check on M&E industry
Experts from the M&E industry and senior Government officials did a reality check with private sector players discussing ways to monetize consumption platforms and calling for a level-playing field for all stakeholders and transparency in policies and implementations.
Sudhanshu Pandey, Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, pointed out that the service sector in India was largely in the unorganised sector and had found its own way to grow. In the next phase the country has to move towards a level-playing field. Transparency in the policy framework and implementation were critical in creating such an environment, he said.
Intellectual Property Rights (IP)
The new National Intellectual Property Rights policy of the Government of India has established a unified institutional mechanism for implementation, monitoring and reviewing of intellectual property (IP) and aims to incorporate and adapt global best practices to the Indian scenario. For the media and entertainment industry protection of IP was critical for encouraging innovation which leads to growth.
This was stated at the event by Dr. S. Rama Rao, Senior Advisor, Intellectual Property, Technology Transfer and International Relations, Solstrat Solutions, at a session on ‘Own, Convert, Protect! Intellectual Property as a Driver of Innovation & Growth’
In his Special Address, Dr. Rao said that with commercialization of innovation, IPR plays a critical role in protecting innovation. He added that there was a need to engage with stakeholders and review multilateral treaties with other countries on IP to strengthen the IPR regime.
At the session on ‘Decoding the pirate economy in interconnected world: From Noise to Action’, Brijesh Singh, Inspector General of Police (Cyber), Maharashtra Police, in a special address said that the Government of Maharashtra was creating a unit to specifically deal with issues of digital infringement of IP. He urged the industry to come forward for this initiative and was in favor of developing a PPP model.
Singh said that Maharashtra would soon have its own Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) which would enable efficient and faster action on computer security incidents. Giving a clarion call to the industry, he added that it was time for stakeholders to collaborate with the enforcement agencies to combat piracy and counterfeiting.
In his keynote address, Rajiv Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, DIPP, said that piracy and counterfeit were being used as a source for terror-funding and legislation alone could not fight it. There was a need for the government, industry and enforcement agencies to come together and work towards changing the mindset of the society by creating awareness about its ill effects. This, he said, would go a long way in developing the next generation which would then recognize the importance of IP.
Aggarwal said that laws were in place for IP protection, the need was to implement them. To this end, technology could be leveraged to bring about meaningful and effective solutions with the help of the industry. He added that anti-piracy campaigns were being carried out effectively in various states and the stakeholders with the government needed to find administrative measures to substantially reduce the problem of piracy and protecting IP.
Digital: Divide or Dividend
The industry players agreed that this was a diamond era for content creators but wondered how the digital platforms could bemonetised unless the subscription business model came into play. There was need for all stakeholders to get together and sort out the issues. Censorship in any form was unacceptable because the so-called offensive content was available for viewing on YouTube. It was noted that today everyone is a media company providing content and that there was a blurring of industry boundaries.
In the session on ‘The Content Trap: A Strategist’s Guide to Digital Change’, Bharat Anand, Henry R. Byers Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School, said that if content is king, then content connectors are emperors. He added that not just content but differentiated and unique content was the king.
Anand said that just content was not enough but creation of a fundamentally different experience was needed for success. He added that there were complementarities being built between content and connectors which was helping in enhancing business.
Speaking about hierarchy in content, he said that digital fundamentally encourages openness but there was hierarchy in content, which allowed only a certain kind of information to be published and there was need to balance out hierarchy and content.
At the session on ‘Connecting the Unconnected - Upgrading technology and infrastructure to the last mile’ J. S. Deepak, India’s Ambassador Designate to the WTO, outlined the challenges and opportunities that the telecom sector and the digital world faces, especially in terms of data connectivity.
He said the pace of internet subscription in India is growing by leaps and bounds and there is a need to realise that that with every 10% increase in internet digital connectivity, the GDP grows by a full percentage point.
Deepak said that only 18% of the rural households in India are digitally literate and therefore there is need to leverage this, else the asymmetry of information would lead to a digital divide.
He said that at present the access to content is restricted to 300 million people as it is created in English. Content was not being available in local languages and the divide was magnified by lack of connectivity of local bodies.
The Digital India vision of the Government, he said, sought to create a digitally empowered society. The aim was to provide broadband connectivity in all the 2500 gram panchayats. Once accomplished, it would lead to increase in demand and step up the flow of investments.
He underlined the need for partnerships between industry and consumers, between industry and government and between telcos themselves to make the Digital India programme truly transformative.