India's media and entertainment biz could touch $120 b: Murdoch

James Murdoch

Delivering the key note at Ficci Frames 2011, Murdoch described India’s media and entertainment sector as the creative sector which could grow in propotion to its size in other advanced economies. This would create millions of new jobs and revolutionise sectors such as education and health care, while ensuring that India has a voice of commensurate with her importance in global affairs.

Murdoch called for the digitisation of Indian media infrastructure, and liberalisation to “bring Indian storytellers and journalists to the world”, and at the same time, criticized the lack of digitization saying that it allows vested interests to hold consumers captive, and lack of funding makes Indian media uncompetitive globally. Murdoch-owned News Corp owns Star channels in India and has a stake in DTH operator Tata Sky.

Transparent, deregulated, market-based and addressable digitisation will unleash a content revolution in India, he said and pointed out “Viewers deserve choice. In a vast and diverse country like India, no channel can try to be everything to everyone, and yet the prevailing regulatory system forces channels to adopt a uniform ad-dependant business model.”

Expressing surprise at the almost exclusively domestic focus of news coverage, he said that India’s 1.2 billion people all too often have to rely on foreigners for on-the-ground reporting. “The fundamental problem in news is the same as in entertainment as government policies prevent the industry from developing a business model that will reward initiative and investment,” he said. For the creative sector, digital infrastructure will allow the right incentives for a more diverse and dynamic industry. This can be done through the market by accelerating the liberalisation of rules with respect to investment, content, distribution and innovation.

He also said that digitization of infrastructure is key to growth and gives the industry the incentive to create. Of 250 million homes in India, only 30 million are digital (i.e. have Digital Television).

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