Government expressed commitment to help the business grow and generate more jobs for which a skill council is on the anvil
The media and entertainment (M&E) industry in India is valued at $23 billion currently and should touch at least $100 billion by 2030, a senior official of the central government has said while sharing plans of setting up a skill council that would help prepare a workforce that fuels this sharp growth spike in the years ahead.
Information and Broadcasting secretary Apurva Chandra told a two-day media convention titled FICCI Frames Fast Track 2022 that the government was committed to supporting the industry and would do whatever it takes to help it grow and generate more jobs.
“Currently, the sector is less than 1% of India’s GDP, and while India will be a $10 trillion economy in the next 10 years, we should target that the M&E sector should grow to more than $100 billion by 2030. The ministry will do whatever it takes to support the M&E sector and help it grow,” he said.
Many changes in the anvil
Chandra said the proposed amendments to the Indian Cinematograph Act had received support from all stakeholders around introducing anti-piracy provisions and age classifications with the UA categories of movies. He was hopeful of being able to table the amended law before the Parliament in the upcoming winter session.
Elaborating on the skill development initiative, the secretary said lack of skills are a constraint in India as in spite of being talented, they miss out due because their skills aren’t honed to meet the changing demands of the industry. He said the M&E Skills Council has a major role to play and in the months ahead would take up the matter as it is critical to creating more jobs.
Bring people back to theaters
The secretary revealed that the government was formulating a Model Theater Policy in order to create more screens for movies, which has been on the decline since the past few years, and more so after the arrival of the OTT platforms as a cheaper option for viewers.
The official held the view that this trend needs to be reversed and towards this end the ministry would assign the task to the Film Facilitation Office to function as a single-window option to facilitate easy approvals for opening movie screening facilities. He said more theaters would mean more options for movie watchers to view the magic of cinema.
Of course, given that several major movies that released in 2022 thus far haven’t really been box office successes, it appears to have been ignored. Burgeoning cost of watching movies at a multiplex could be another reason for single-screen theaters to make a comeback. However, there was no specific word from the I&B secretary if this was the plan.
However, Chandra was quite categorical about the need for more theaters, especially in the large towns with a population of between 5-6 lakh. “Many such towns do not have proper theaters and there is a need for it… people want to go to theaters and experience the magic, but in their absence movie-watching as an experience becomes poorer,” he said.
The official took pains to point out that when the government had curtailed theater ticket prices to Rs.75 to celebrate the National Cinema Day, the shows were full. Chandra said people do crave to visit theaters but to ensure that price points need to be right.
Referring to the proposed content policy for Prasar Bharati, the official said the public broadcaster will soon bring out a transparent content acquisition regime under which they would partner with creators on a revenue-sharing basis with the latter also taking some onus for the marketing of the programs.