From The Summit Chair’s Desk
I am delighted to communicate with you all as The Summit Chair for The Lex Witness 7th Annual Media, Advertising & Entertainment Legal Summit 2018 scheduled for 11th October 2018, Courtyard by Marriott, Mumbai.
One of the biggest challenges starring at all of us is to remain ‘relevant’ given the fast-changing landscape in general and more so for M&E industry given its dynamic nature and immediate ‘connectedness’ to the global trends. This summit presents opportunities to interact, exchange ideas and deep dive into the critical issues facing the industry. We may not arrive at conclusions since as lawyers we ‘love to agree to disagree’, but I am sure that knowledge and insights which wegain will certainly enable us to make right decisions when faced with challenges more particularly in ‘grey areas’ in our individual roles.
As per Economic Contribution Report on the Film and Television Industry released by Deloitte in association with MPA in March 2018 (ECR Report), while Film, Television and OTT industry directly generates output of US $15.6 billion and directly provides employment to 7.4 lakh people, but indirectly the industry generates output of US$33.3 billion and creates a total employment of 23.6 lakh. The multiplier effect of the M&E industry is enormous. The sector continues to grow at a rate almost double the GDP rate. However, after not so great last year given the headwinds of GST and demonetization, now the sector is poised to be on the recovery path. As per various estimates, over the next 5 years, the M&E sector is expected to grow at the CAGR of more than 13% lead by digital revolution.
We have witnessed dramatic changes over the last couple of years in the regulatory and policy landscape for the M&E industry, and the trend may continue over the next few years. The summit will encompass debate and discussion on various issues. I’d like to point a few;
While content regulation/censorship is a hot topic generally whether,for television, cinema or OTT, self- regulatory bodies such as ASCI, BCCC,and NBSA have very well been able to establish their credence so far.
The new Copyright Act (2013) and the associated royalty issues have created a lot of confusion in India, internationally new trends are emerging on the Copyright front for instance, in the US, Music Modernization Act may become reality, wherebydigital music streaming companies will not be able to avoid mechanical royalty.The EU parliament is considering new Copyright Law that would force many apps and websites to screen uploaded content using automated filters to detect copyrighted material and the proposed law will require online services to pay news publications for using their content.
We are yet to see the impact of the Supreme Court’s Aadhaar Judgement on how India is gearing up towards its own data protection regime.
Online Gaming is a fast-growing segment but regulations around it are not clear.
For television broadcasting sector, a pending case in Supreme Court regarding TRAI jurisdiction will clear out a lot of uncertainties for the sector.
Should India also consider adopting various legislative and administrative measures to curb Digital Piracy like other countries?
Given that TRAI has been renamed as Digital Communications Regulatory Authority of India, will its role and ambit change, and will it truly become converged regulator?
Technology, Media and Telecom (TMT) convergence is a reality now as boundaries have blurred and will continue to blur more across the globe. Telecom companies are hungrier more than ever for the ‘Content’ to present a differentiated offering to their subscribers and broadcasting companies are realizing the importance of building direct-to-consumer platforms i.e. OTT. And the networking and other technologies continue to play a middleware role in converging business models across these industries. Video consumption is becoming faster and sleeker even on base level smartphones because of data compression technologies.
This presents an additional challenge as well as the opportunity for professionals working in these sectors. According to KPMG, M&E report released in September 2018, “various stakeholders stand to benefit from converging business models. While media content creators can have access to wider distribution through technology companies and telcos, as well as greater avenues for content monetization, telecom,and technology companies can increase monetization on their platforms and create differentiation in their services through content offerings.”
We as a legal fraternity are not immune from this overall transformation and may have to reskill ourselves to remain relevant. The summit presents an opportunity to discuss Legal, Regulatory and Policy changes in the light of this backdrop.
I look forward to interacting with all of you at The Lex Witness 7th Annual Media, Advertising & Entertainment Legal Summit 2018 scheduled for 11th October 2018, Courtyard by Marriott, Mumbai. I am a sure debate, discussion and exchange of ideas at the Summit will be immensely beneficial to all of us in these evolving times!
Group General Counsel
Viacom18 Media Pvt. Ltd.