The Internet And Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) played hosts to their seventh conference of the year as ‘Pixels 2017’ materialised on 20 July 2017 in Mumbai in the plush confines of hotel Taj Lands End, Bandra (West).
Digital Entertainment was the topic of discussion and was spread across seven different sessions entailing different topics pertaining to the same. The esteemed panel of speakers comprised as much as 30 people from various institutions in the digital sector, sharing their thoughts on various issues.
The conference commenced with Hungama Digital Media Entertainment CEO Neeraj Roy making the opening remarks. The events kick started with ‘Digital Entertainment through a Crystal Ball’ where the focus was on the future of digital entertainment and where it stands a few years down the line.
Hotstar CEO Ajit Mohan opined, “It feels like the early days for the sector but at the same time, it has seen a fairly dramatic growth compared to last two to three years. But in five years from now, the digital users would be 700-800 million but if they would not be meaningfully spending time on mobile video that would be disappointing.”
Digital content is constantly changing. Newer technologies bring newer landscape to it. One such change was talked about by Shemaroo Entertainment Ltd. Director Jai Maroo, who says, “One of the big changes in the next three-four years will be the broadband access at home. We have 300-400 million mobile users. If we add that up with another 100 million broadband users, that will be a big one.”
Adding more to the changes expected in the future, Netflix APAC managing director Kuek Yu-Chuang says, “Collectively, there needs to be a thoughtfulness in the product development so that the consumers trust us and willing to recommend that to their friends. And that’s how you build that skill.”
Soon after, the topic was shifted to the recent trends in digital content. The highlight was shows based on original kids genre. Having been asked about the experience of working on the same, Yash Raj Films development head Nikhil Taneja said, “The primary, young audience of today are not getting the content which they feel are connected to them. So you see people shelling out a sum just to watch a Netflix show. The driving factor is the originals which covers topics that are relevant today.”
Pocket Films managing director Saameer Mody followed up with some thoughts on short films which has gained prominence in the digital entertainment recently. He says, “Short films convey a message said differently, expressed in a manner very different from how it is expressed in mainstream television. These are the contents to which the audience can relate with, which is telling them a story that they understand.”
Talking of short films, several shows for the young audience – both animated and live action have been coming up frequently. Some of them have even gained a cult status within the student community. But what’s the secret to this? Children’s Film Society CEO Shravan Kumar gives his take, “Since the young audience is consuming a lot of content form the digital platforms, it is important to produce those contents which is addressing those audience. There is a dearth of content which is made for children. But unfortunately that’s what they thrive on. That’s why we are creating them so that they will become adults who will understand that context, that language when we talk of entertainment.”
Following a short break, the discussions resumed with monetisation of digital content. It also emphasised on the steps that need to be undertaken to realise it in the current business set-up.
Then it was down to one of the most pertinent issues in modern times – the content piracy. The panelists discussed the challenges, the various shapes and sizes in which they come, and the combative measures to curb it.
And finally after Radio Mirchi CEO Prashant Pandey’s talk, the event concluded with recognising the new businesses that are leveraging the ecosystems or building new investment models for the digital entertainment.
The event witnessed almost 300 attendees and ended with a promise to return with more such hot topics and esteemed guests for another highly informative discussion.