K. Madhavan Country Manager & President – Disney Star, opens the 11th CII Big Picture Summit

16 December 2022

Leading the mission to make India the storyteller of the world

The 11th CII Summit 2022 brought together key policymakers, regulators, and industry stakeholders like the Honourable Minister of Information & Broadcasting and Minister of Youth Affairs & Sports, Anurag Thakur, TRAI Chairman Dr Vaghela, MIB Secretary Shri Apurva Chandra and K Madhavan. The agenda targeted discussions on future growth opportunities, global macroeconomic factors, state of the Indian economy while keeping storytelling at the core of it all. 

K Madhavan touched upon the entertainment industry's shift in the last 2 years. The industry has managed to sail through difficult times, such as a halt on new content production, the closure of cinema halls and a cut-back in advertising spending during the pandemic. However, despite the pandemic and global macroeconomic setbacks like the Ukraine war, tech meltdown, inflation and recession, India remains primarily insulated - with a GDP growth rate of close to 7%. This can be attributed to a booming digital ecosystem, a robust payment infrastructure, low data costs and favourable government policies with a thrust to boost local manufacturing that will enable us to become primary suppliers to the world. With such a strong foundation, there is no better time to be part of the India growth story.  

In reality, the entertainment sector is under-penetrated. The media & entertainment industry accounts for less than 0.9% of GDP, compared to 3 to 4% for many developed countries. Additionally, India's subscription and ad revenues are much below global levels. In a country with 300 million households, 100 million still remain without a television set, providing an impetus for growth. The broadcasting industry is a powerful medium to educate, inspire and empower viewers – so it is pertinent that the government and the industry come together to provide television access to all households in India.  

Elaborating on topics like streaming - which is expected to witness solid double-digit growth, the challenges faced by the movie segments and the high growth of gaming & sports, he states that the rollout of 5G services is expected to provide a further boost to these segments. He also mentions that light-touch regulation will be critical for continued innovation and investment in streaming businesses, so bringing regulatory clarity at a national level is vital for further growth.  

He shares his views on content in a global context: "Consumers are changing, technology is changing, consumption behaviour is changing. Disruptive innovation is happening at a staggering rate. In the media industry, we need to constantly keep pace with the changing environment. Or, we will stagnate and risk being irrelevant. We have to challenge the status quo and question our own old successful formulas to make India the creative hub of the world. I truly believe we have that potential, and there could not have been a better time to be part of the India growth story."  

Acknowledging that the movie segment has been enduring a challenging time though regional movies are performing relatively better, he urges the industry to think boldly and redefine their approach. The validation that regional movies have gotten, both in India and on global streaming platforms, is proof that even Bollywood has the potential to take movies to a worldwide audience. 

There was great emphasis on how merging the physical and virtual worlds could accelerate with the advent of the Metaverse, creating the immense potential for developing innovative and unique immersive experiences for viewers. He also underscored how support from policymakers and regulators in the form of Intellectual Property Protection, antipiracy measures, light-touch regulation for OTT, and national frameworks for the gaming and cable television sector can help the industry's achieve its 100 Billion Dollar ambition within a decade. 

As a country, K Madhavan expressed how we should be ready to seize the avenues our sector offers, make India the world's storyteller, take the industry to even greater heights, and inspire a billion imaginations.

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