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BW Businessworld

A Year Of Many Firsts

The Indian Media & Entertainment industry, after being in the dumps in the first half of 2020 shows remarkable resilience with all the sectors pulling themselves out of the morass to script a turnaround

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Perhaps because this is where I took my first steps as an entrepreneur, or may be because it is the mainstay sector in which we operate in, every time we take an initiative focused on the Indian Media & Entertainment (M&E) sector, I feel there is always room to say more. In terms of sheer numbers, this has been a very bad year for the sector. But a closer look indicates that this is the year when India’s digital transformation truly took off, and  from where the country will once again leapfrog to become a robust digital economy.

The India M&E sector grew at seven per cent in FY20 to reach a size of Rs 1.75 trillion, a CAGR of ten per cent over FY16-20, according to a KPMG report. The report indicates that the primary driver of these numbers is digital and OTT video. It says the M&E sector will contract by a significant 20 per cent in FY21, driven by the waning in major segments such as film, TV and print. As an industry M&E is expected to bounce back in FY22, however, growing 33 per cent over a FY21 base to reach Rs 1.86 trillion.

Much of the M&E sector, especially the ‘media’ part of  it, still depends on advertising revenue. In this, a breath of relief came in when global holding companies released their December 2020 forecasts for 2021. India, which had seen the highest decline in ad revenues in 2020, is expected to grow by 26.9 per cent in 2021, making it the lead ad growth market, according to IPG’s Magna global forecast

The bottom line or the silver lining is that the India M&E space is transforming and digital, in all its avatars – social, video, mobile, display, OTT, gaming – is contributing to future growth. It is no surprise that not only did the year see India get its largest tech FDI but also saw regulatory changes bringing digital media under the Ministry of  Information & Broadcasting.

I concur with several reports that you will read in this issue that the demarcation of traditional and digital no longer exists. What was once termed traditional has already created very potent digital channels, and reconstructed business models to become future ready. One such company, that I hold in high esteem, not only because of its India origin but also because of the several disruptive and industry-first initiatives that it has taken, is Zee Entertainment Enterprises. In this issue, we have deep dived into how this Indian media giant is positioning itself for future growth. Under the leadership of  Punit Goenka, Amit Goenka and a team of  leaders, Zee has donned a new structure and put forth a guideline that I think has much to say about what the media of the future will look like in India.

Coupled with comments from industry leaders like Ekta Kapoor, Girish Agarwal, Sanjay Gupta, Avinash Pandey, and global doyens like Mark Read of  WPP, Yannick Bollore of Havas & Vivendi and Rahul Welde of  Unilever, this special edition has packed in a lot that should assist you in your decision making for 2021.