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The billion screens transition of M&E sector in times of coronavirus

The Covid-19 pandemic expedited transitions for many sectors, but very few would have seen ones as drastic as what media & entertainment (M&E) has experienced. At one end of the spectrum is the big-screen—Bollywood alone is estimated to have lost Rs 4,000 crore in 2020 and is likely staring at a similar loss this year too—and at the other is the OTT boom.

Experts outline a chunky potential resulting from this transition; nearly a billion screens (TVs and tablets, too, but largely smartphones) over the next five years, from 600 million now, would translate into a massive demand for content—and the creation, curation, marketing and selling of this content could translate into a whopping 8 million jobs by 2025, up from 4 million right now. And, indirect jobs, as per an EY expert, could be the cherry on top of the icing if India becomes “the world’s back office for production and post-production.”

It is not as if the pandemic and the growing appetite for small-screen viewing will mean that the big-screen business will go belly up. Indeed, with the number of theatre screens across the country expected to rise from 9,000 to 10,500 in a few years, clearly, if vaccines and Covid-appropriate behaviour result in meaningful control over the pandemic, the business would be in sound health as there would likely be no disruptions.

With OTT becoming accessible, and increasingly affordable thanks to sachet-pricing, for content-creators, it represents another vista for growth. With all this, M&E is poised, as per an EY estimate, to rake in `2.42 lakh crore in revenues in 2022. Apart from the employment gains, the spillovers for sectors like telecom (from increased data consumption) and food services (ordering in) may not be small too. Financial Express


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