20th FICCI Frames calls it a day promising to be grander next year

The third and final day of 20th FICCI Frames began with the session on sports, ‘Sportsononomics- Driving Indian sports forward, on and off field’. The panel discussed the current scenario of Indian sports which is at a turning point, about investments, policies, relations, analysing the business models to better the upcoming years. Sports Live Entertainment chairman Atul Pandey commented, “Any kind of problem in this business arises because most of the people running the business are not from this background. Thus, there’s a gap.” The rest of the panelist included AVIA chief policy officer John Medeiros, renowned media expert Chintamani Rao, GroupM business head of entertainment, sports & live events Vinit Karnik, Delhi Capitals CEO Dhiraj Malhotra, IQuest CEO Nitin Kukreja, 21st Century Fox director of Government relations Asia Matthew Kurlanzik and Indian sports journalist Mayanti Langer as the moderator. The next session looked on the spurt of original content across TV, OTT and movie worlds. As competition is increasing, major VOD platforms around the world are creating original content to capture the mass and the market. The session was moderated by Kaleidoscope entertainment managing director Bobby Bedi, and the panelists were MolQ Entertainment chief executive officer E.J. Klein, Wattpad Studios (Asia) head Dexter Ong, ALTBalaji Group and ALT Balaji Telefilms chief executive officer Nachiket Pantvaidya, VOOT business head Akash Banerji, MX player chief content officer Gautam Talwar, ErosNow chief operating officer Ali Hussein, chief operating officer,  Amazon Prime Video director and country manager Gaurav Gandhi and Shemaroo Entertainment chief operating officer Kranti Gada. Gandhi mentioned, “The digital shift has happened in last four years and the shift on content was because we cater to a specific audience for different content we create. The genres being explored today were not really seen in other formats.” Banerjee added, “Originals have a very tangible business value. It accelerates the business drive. The edginess and unexplored genres help us attract audience attention. We are not creating originals just for the sake of the trend but we believe in them.” Moderated by Viraf Phiroz Patel, the following session was a ‘starry’ affair with Indian television actors Iqbal Khan, Nakuul Mehta, Vivek Dahiya, Kritika Kamra, Dhrashti Dhami and Namita Dubey. talking on the most widely consumed entertainment – TV. They gave their inputs on the sweat and toil that goes behind earning the glitz and glory an Indian TV. The popular faces attempt a conversation to share the good, the bad, the ugly of being in front of the camera in the unpredictable world of TV fiction. Mehta commented, “The challenge is to ride on the bandwagon and stick to what you believe in. We need to be patient for the right kind of roles. On basis of the tiresome work I do – I don’t get to see my wife, my family, attend birthday parties or any family functions. On basis of that, I’m highly underpaid.” A panel discussion heated with the panellists including BARC India head partnerships Elbert Dsilva, Sony YAY! programming head Ronojoy Chakraborty, DDB Mudra Group executive director Sathyamurthy Namakkal, GroupM business head- entertainment, sports and live events Vinit Karnik, Viacom18 Media head content kids network Anu Sikka and Graphiti Multimedia co-founder Munjal Shroff discussed about complexity of programming for the age groups which has been challenging and how advertisers have no clarity on data to bank upon, while reaching out to the pre-school audience and their parents. The discussion further added insights upon the data consumption by these segments differ in taste, values and entertainment quotient. Ashish Kulkarni ensured the panel on the further investment in researching this segment is the need of the hour and the industry will take necessary steps for the same. The BARC reports presented by Dsilva showed the topics of interest of kids on television which included games/talks shows/quiz, feature films and cartoon shows. According to the BARC reports, there are 17 channels in India focusing only on kids’ content, with 211 million kids watch television. Sony YAY! head programming Ronojoy Chakraborty when asked by Kulkarni about the creation of stereotype shows on television mentioned, “If we have data, we will create program. If we get better age cuts, we can curate better content, but the revenue share must go up to make this happen.” Disagreeing with Kulkarni’s comment on stereotyping shows, Sikka said, “We are not at all repeating content. We have definitely experimented with the shows on our channels, with creation of different channels for different target audience.” Sikka finds that the 0-4, 5-9 and 10-12 age cut should be provided by BARC as there is a younger group of audience watching nursery rhymes. While, Chakraborty feels that the cuts should be: 2-6, 7-9, 10-14, considering the child’s developmental status. The next session on ‘Screenwriters: The Creative Force Powering Indian Cinema’s new surge’, focusing on the unambiguous success of well-scripted films – Andhadhun, Stree, Badhaai Ho, despite the absence of big stars that underscores the power of good writing. The session celebrates the screenwriter, but more importantly explores what still needs to be done to facilitate great writing so that the industry continues to churn out more successful films. The panel had some important names from the business – Juhi Chaturvedi (October), Sriram Raghavan (Andhadhun), Akshat Ghildial (Badhaai Ho), Raj Nidimoru (Stree), Junglee Pictures president Priti Shahani and Central Board of Film Certification member Vani Tripathi Tikoo. The moderator was screenwriter  Anjum Rajabali. Tikoo exclaimed, “There are films made lately, those are relatable, using dialects that are real, uglier, violent in terms of portraying the reality and not only pretty things. They’re like a mirror to the society. And ofcourse the author’s back. These are exciting times for storytellers and storytelling. Also not to forget the book acquisitions.” Nidimoru continued on the similar line, “The script is the star of the film but unfortunately is not treated as one. Anyone who’s a good or even decent writer can get a job now. But money is ofcourse an important factor. If you give the writers’ their due credit and money, they won’t take more projects together and focus on one to make it better.” The following session on ‘Celebrating Rainbow: The Seven Shades of Content’ threw light on the trend of much deserved LGBTQ+ content in Bollywood films. The panelists consisted of reputed names from the film business – filmmaker Onir (My Brother Nikhil)  filmmaker Sridhar Rangayan (Kashish), filmmaker Hansal Mehta (Aligarh), writer Gazal Dhaliwal (Ek Ladki Ko Dekha to Aisa Laga) and veteran actor Shabana Azmi with Network18 Media group editor of  entertainment Priyanka Sinha Jha as the moderator. Azmi recollected, “When Fire came to me, I was moved by the script but was concerned that it’d be used against me. I discussed it with Zoya who was just 19 then and she was not even concerned about the fact that it was a same sex relationship. We need to look at such films beyond the tag of it being just a same sex relationship.” Dhaliwal revealed, “I lived a life of suffocation in Punjab. I’m a transgender female, I was born male. It was very important for me to tell the story of Ek Ladki Ko Dekha to Aisa Laga in a way that any middle class person would relate to as well as enjoy with their family at the same time as it’s a very sensitive issue. With Ek Ladki Ko Dekha to Aisa Laga it was Bollywood mainstream films coming out of the closet.” Rangayan added, “LGBTQ+session in FICCI Frames in itself is mainstream. With decriminalising of 377, people’s minds have opened and now they are not hesitant to buy tickets and go out to watch films on this issue without laughing or passing any comment.” The #10YearChallenge has smitten all and the advertising industry sure did manage to share their journey in the past few years with an interesting session. Advertising powers the media industry and there is explosion of subscription driven digital consumption. There is now higher media consumption, but also greater fragmentation. Moderated by Madison World chairman Sam Balsara, the panel including IPG Mediabrnads CEO Shashi Sinha, Marico head media and digital marketing Ankit Desai, BARC India CEO Partho Dasgupta, Ultratechjoint executive president, head-marketing Ajay Dang, BBC World Service director-marketing and audiences Catherine Blizzard and Viacom18 head, Hindi mass entertainment and kids TV network Nina Elavia Jaipuria decoded the success mantras for a successful future in advertising. Jaipuria mentioned, “The GEC sector has maintained its 53% sahre over the past few years as the time spent on GEC is higher. But, with the growing content platforms, consumer is spoilt for choices. As broadcasters, we have to be authentic and relatable with the content.” The session was followed by the launch of India Today’s app ‘So Sorry Gully Cricket’, which was formally launched in the presence of former cricketer Sunil Gavaskar. Gavaskar mentioned his memories related to the sport stating his love for Gully Cricket since childhood. The following session was ‘Gazing into the Crystal Ball – Sustaining Growth in Uncertain Times- keynote by Government of India, Ministry of Finance principal economic advisor Sanjeev Sanyal. He talked on India as a fluid global marketplace, forecasting a global slowdown and disruption in media markets due to convergence. The next sessions of the day were – ‘Producers Masterclass’ with Roy Kapur Films founder Siddharth Roy Kapur moderated by  journalist Mayank Shekhar which focused on the business of investing in films of different genres and creating a mark. FICCI Frames 2019 ended with a candid chat between stand-up artist and actor Kapil Sharma actor Shilpa Shetty Kundra, moderated by Viraf Phiroz Patel about their journey, growth and expectations from the industry. The 20th FICCI Frames was a successful event and we are anticipating it to be even bigger next year!