The world has changed in the last four months and the media and entertainment industry like most other sectors is going through a rough patch. At the FICCI FRAMES 2020, Sanjay Gupta, Country Manager and Vice President, Google India, and Chairman with FICCI Media and Entertainment Committee, said it is time to rise to the occasion and bring back the industry to health. According to Gupta, a little push from the government could help the industry in recovering faster.
Gupta also suggested that the FICCI M&E committee would be submitting a recommendation to MIB shortly. “We are focused on working with the government to unlock the full potential of the industry to power India’s economic engine,” he said.
“This is a moment for us as an industry to usher in a fundamental shift in the way the M$E sector works and is perceived by the world, I believe and all of us in FICCI M&E committee believe that we can be 100 billion dollar industry by 2030,” he added.
According to Gupta with forward-looking policy initiatives like simplification of the taxation framework, adoption of a light-touch regulatory approach, infrastructure status to the industry and support to accelerate exports of films and games, can enable the industry to get clarity and ensure that companies can invest in it with a long term growth opportunity in mind.
“In the short term, we do need to expedite some of the policy decisions which can help in the sector’s recovery. We need to possibly resolve some of the critical issues like tax burden on DTH and radio. We could also look at allowing theaters to be used for multiple activities like showing sports games or educational activities to maximize capital utilization and looking at local taxation to see if we can eliminate it. The broadcasting sector will benefit by ensuring light-touch regulation. We can also think of using CSR money for advertising products and services which are beneficial to society today in these unique times. In my mind, it is not about giving cash benefits, but enabling the industry to continue on the recovery path,” Gupta said.
The M&E industry, Gupta said, had revenue of $20 billion in 2019 and the digital media accounted for 20% of the industry revenue. Through direct and indirect employment, the M&E sector has employed close to 5 million people in 2019.
However, the world has changed in the last four months and the industry is going through one of the most uncertain periods of all times.
Talking of hardships, Gupta said, “Through this period, the media and entertainment sector has been hit very, very hard. The studios are just about opening up, cinema halls are still closed and will continue to be so for some more time. Not everyone is comfortable getting a newspaper delivered to their homes. And the advertising revenues, which is a lifeline of this industry, are down anywhere from 50% to 19% over the last few months. If I look at the full year 2020, we’ll see the sector shrink to $15 billion. Even bigger a challenge is the impact on jobs and the livelihood of those impacted,” he said.
It is estimated that around 20% of the workforce in the industry may lose their jobs, potentially impacting nearly a million people. The pandemic has forced the entire world into a conversation about trade, interdependence and economic recovery. According to Gupta, the world ought to see the Indian industry not just as an M&E sector serving India, but as a creative powerhouse that delivers globally and inspires the world. “To realize this opportunity in India we need collective effort, both from within the industry, as well as the government,” he added. FICCI