Karnataka all set to wield digital muscle: Siddaramaiah

Karnataka all set to wield digital muscle: Siddaramaiah

Karnataka all set to wield digital muscle: Siddaramaiah

Karnataka’s animation, visual effects, gaming and comics (AVGC) policy has been among the most forward-looking in the country with the aim of ensuring maximum growth for this sector, state Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said while delivering the inaugural address at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s (FICCI) Media & Entertainment Business Conclave in Bangalore on Tuesday.

He said the Karnataka government is keen to work towards nurturing the industry by encouraging skill-building and initiating dialogue through more media conclaves to understand industry concerns and formulate progressive and growth-friendly policies for the future. “I would like to assure that Karnataka will provide an enabling environment for this ecosystem by harnessing the digitally empowered medium to its fullest,” Siddaramaiah assured industrialists and film personalities attending the two-day Conclave.

He said developing more mobile applications and mobile optimised websites is the need of the hour. “The future rests on sustaining subscription revenues and creating a firm foundation from them, building on online content qualitatively and giving advertisers innovative ways to reach out to readers,” Siddaramaiah said. This is important against the backdrop of marketers paying more heed to rising disposable incomes and purchasing power of South India. 

South Indian cinema, the third largest segment of the media industry at Rs 2,680 crore, with a 11 per cent share of the entertainment pie, accounts for over half the total films produced in the country. The entertainment industry has been well supported by growth in television and print media. “Months after the Union Government’s deadline of March 31 this year for Phase II of cable TV digitisation has passed, cities like Bangalore and Hyderabad in South India are said to have achieved 100 per cent digitisation, while others are in various stages of completion. Mysore City achieved 80 per cent digitization by the end of May 2013,” he said. 

He said the trend of remaking popular South Indian blockbusters continues as producers realize the entertainment value of these films, which transcend regional boundaries. “More importantly, an increasing number of South India films are dubbed for satellite broadcasting on national channels,” he noted.

The FICCI Deloitte Report for 2013 released on Tuesday estimates the size of the South Indian media and entertainment industry at Rs 23,900 crore and expected to grow at a Compounded Annual Growth Rate of 6 per cent to reach Rs 43,600 crore by 2017. 

The report pegs the television industry in South India at Rs 13,470 crore, accounting for the largest share of the overall sector at 56 per cent and projected to grow at a CAGR of 20 per cent in the next four years. 

Renowned actor Kamal Haasan, who is chairing the Media and Entertainment Business Conclave, called for better tax incentives for cinema, especially animation sector, easier clearances for shooting in cities, more co-production treaties with cinema-centric countries, focussed training schemes for the sector in Five Year Plans, and more public-private partnerships to fund quality films.

Haasan said South India has a variety of rich regional content. “What we need is an enabling business environment for the content to be translated to reality and sustained development of human capital along with the advancements in technology,” he said, adding that in the present digital ecosystem traditional platforms have been disrupted and new methods for the future need to be adopted in order to be creating and monetizing content. “For this, skills development for the industry needs special discussion and a roadmap,” he said.

As a nation, there is a lack of sustained training in order to become cinema professionals in the truest sense, he said. “For our films to make the transition from being ‘good’ to ‘edgy’, we need stronger scripts and more institutes which teach writing for the movies as an area of specialization.”

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