Consumers Must Pay For Content, Uday Shankar

Media businesses have prioritised advertising over content and the industry is set to take a huge hit because of its reliance on advertising, Uday Shankar (pictured), president of The Walt Disney Company (Asia-Pacific) and chairman, Star and Disney, said on Tuesday during the FICCI Frames virtual summit.

Held annually in March, Frames was postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The summit started on Tuesday and would continue till Saturday.

“The biggest bane of this industry — especially for print, television and even digital — has been its over dependence on advertising. If the industry has to grow to the next level, I think the one thing that must be fixed is our ability and our desire to get people to pay for what they consume. That’s the only way this industry can grow,” he said.

Advertising revenue in media, Shankar said, had grown to $10 billion now from $1 billion in 2000. While advertising had helped the media industry to sustain itself over the years, it has also been a huge distraction, he said.

The media industry in India is pegged at $20 billion, of which half is contributed by advertising alone in terms of revenue. Television remains the largest medium in terms of advertising, followed by the print and digital. But, the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the business, with advertising across categories taking a significant hit.

Globally, the media industry has grown on the back of establishing a ‘direct’ relationship with consumers, Shankar said.

“All of us are guilty of this. We decided to be shortsighted, we decided to subsidise our products and created hurdles for small challengers,” he said.  Business Standard

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