The CII Media and Entertainment Committee hosted the second edition of the CII SummitFX, which was six-days long and saw interesting sessions from 24 to 29 August.
Appropriately, the theme for 2021 was “The Reset”. Emerging out of the two waves of COVID 19, many verticals within the animation, visual effects, gaming and comics (AVGC) sector have seen several businesses continue to grow while “live action” related sectors have had an unavoidable setback in 2020. Some of the traditional sectors have since been recovering lost ground by reinventing new methods of production, embracing virtual production technologies to recover.
CII SummitFX 2021 was organised in partnership with the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, State Government of Karnataka. The online event is supported by Technicolor with Mobile Premier League as the principal partner and Animation Xpress as the online promotional partner.
The CII SummitFX 2021 was inaugurated by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology additional secretary Dr. Rajendra Kumar, director general, STPI Dr.Omkar Rai, CII National Committee on Media and Entertainment chairman and The Walt Disney Company India and Star India country manager and president K Madhavan, CII National Committee on M&E vice chair, CII Sub Committee on AVGC & Immersive Media chair and India Technicolor country head Biren Ghose and CII National Committee on Media and Entertainment co-chairman, Producers Guild of India president and Roy Kapur Films founder and managing director Siddharth Roy Kapur and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting additional secretary Neerja Sekhar.
Day one’s inaugural session kicked off with Ghose delivering the welcome note and highlighting the six day session details and programs and also mentioned how the AVGC sector has been developed in the past few years.
As the day progressed, there were insightful discussions on how competitive gaming is taking the next level. They also shed light on how earlier gaming was for leisure only and currently it is transforming into an everyday habit as well as becoming a viable profession. Panelists shared their opinions on how the gaming ecosystem has seen exponential growth in India compared to its nations.
The difference between real money gaming, casual gaming, fantasy sports and esports was the highlight of one of the discussions. Also, the primary reasons why smaller studios in the AVGC sector were hugely affected in scaling up during the pandemic were talked about. They were – insufficient funding avenue, trained talent, competition from other emerging nations, change in YouTube’s ad revenue policy for kids content, balance of power that still lies in the hands of foreign studios for co-production.
Day two of CII SummitFX 2021 focused on how to build up the skills, emerging opportunities and technological aspects of the AVGC sector.
The noteworthy discussion was a ‘Special Policy Session on AVGC Sector – Focus on Games & Emerging Verticals’ which was moderated CII National Committee on Media & Entertainment VP and Technicolor India country head Biren Ghose and a mix of policy makers from the government and important stakeholders participated; the likes of which included Punnaryug Artvision and Screenyug Creations founder & CEO Ashish Kulkarni, Nazara Technologies Manish Agarwal, Mobile Premier League (MPL) SVP, strategy and business operations Naman Jhawar, CII India@75 Council chairman and JetLine Group of Companies vice chairman & managing director Rajan Navani, and Department of Commerce joint secretary Darpan Jain.
The other sessions were a fireside chat between Biren Ghose and author of Demystifying Esports Baro Hyun; ‘Turbocharging India’s Entertainment Landscape’ which discussed various aspects of how the Indian esports system has flourished over the years and how the sector will be climbing new levels going forward; ‘E-learning, E-commerce, Esports boom in India and how content and collaboration are driving growth in key segments in a post-pandemic era’ and ‘Media Tech – The Cloud Imperative‘ that focussed on the major shifts that have taken place in the media industry where streaming is no longer a secondary business and media consumption habits are constantly evolving.
Day three witnessed various stakeholders of the industry putting their heads together to aggregate the policies and state-led initiatives that have boosted the ecosystem.
‘Building Eco-system Through State AVGC Associations‘ had the participants share how the state’s participation is imperial in the growth of the AVGC sector and ‘Powering the AVGC Start-up Ecosystem‘ saw a freewheeling conversation amongst discussants concerning importance of encouraging the industry with the help of technology.
One of the most intuitive sessions of the day, ‘5G powered Entertainment – Paradigm shift in Experience’ saw participation by key stalwarts of the ecosystem as they spoke about how 5G is a technology that is set to transform the way we experience, well, digital experiences by offering faster connectivity and lower latency. It is set to revolutionize the entertainment sector, providing us with more immersive experiences through virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), cloud gaming, and other avenues. The expert panel also discussed the experiential differentiation in entertainment powered by 5G.
Day four covered insightful discussions on 10X growth in the AVGC industry, animation feature production, Indian IP going global, and a valedictory session by the who’s who.
The first session ‘Indian stories, Global Appeal: Creating local animation IPs’ highlighted how the AVGC sector and IP creation is tremendously growing and bringing new opportunities to the Indian animation industry from around the globe. The panelists also shared their viewpoints on how to make global IPs and how diversification of story is important while creating content for the global market.
‘How to ace the co-production game’ shed light on the emerging co-production deals and how the industry is growing and developing through this co-production. ‘Reigning the Silver Screen: Focus on Animation Feature Production’ reassured that the future of animation feature production is in solid hands. The panelists acknowledged that it’s about innovation and the creative way of inventing something that is cutting-edge.
The day concluded with a valedictory session on ‘CII SummitFX 2021 – Global AVGC & Immersive Media Summit’ which saw participation from various stakeholders and ministers.
Day five of CII’s SummitFX witnessed bunch of stalwarts of the AVGC spectrum shed light on various aspects, right from ‘Building Robust & Scalable Academic Pipelines in VFX’, ‘Story with Disney International, Wild Canary & Mikros –The Chicken Squad‘,’ Use of VFX and Animation in Modern Apps’, ‘How to Establish a Creation & Distribution Ecosystem for Immersive Content’, to ‘Making of Love & Monsters.’
The day began with a benchmark-setting conversation on ‘building robust & scalable academic pipelines in all areas of the visual effects ecosystem’. This discussion revolved around ‘robust’ and ‘scalability’ where industry shared what they would like from educational institutions on how they see themselves enabling the transition of students from intention to ability.
An engrossing session on the ‘Use of VFX and Animation in Modern Apps’ included quite a few takeaways where experts shed light on how VFX is fueling brand extensions and revenue extensions. The panelists discussed how individuals should scout about new technology while staying at home which will further help in scaling up or provide the expertise when needed. Since technology is constantly shifting it is crucial for all to hone the skill set for betterment of the ecosystem.
Overall, the day ended with the broadened perspective where experts weighed in which outcome is achievable if personal skills and technology advancements are scaled up.
Day six of CII SummitFX witnessed eminent personalities from the AVGC industry discussing crucial topics like how to create an industry for women and also shed light on various emerging opportunities in the VFX industry and the art of setting up a VFX studio from scratch.
The day started with an energetic and impactful discussion on ‘Break the ceiling, game changer. Share your story’. This discussion focused on creating a space for women in the AVGC sector. The panelists shared their life and professional experience on how they broke barriers and overcame all the challenges through their career path.
‘Opportunities in the VFX industry for Indian students’ highlighted the evolving VFX industry and the emerging new opportunities. It brought into the picture the emergence of new pipelines, what it took to adapt to the work from home culture during this pandemic and how digital media is creating vast opportunities in the field of AVGC.
All in all, CII SummitFX 2021 was a hit. The event featured a power packed agenda: buyer-seller market; keynotes delivered by government officials and industry leaders; panels and presentations by global executives and creatives; policy discussions, and reports and whitepapers.
CII SummitFX 2021 saw over 40+ knowledge sessions and over 100 speakers deliberating on a wide range of issues that cut across the spectrum looking to develop a cohesive industry engagement with core cross sectoral policy dialogues and strategic exchanges.