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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Preserve 4G for subscription-led growth, says Ronnie Screwvala

Ronnie Screwvala, CEO & Founding Chairman, UTV Group feels the Indian entertainment industry will fall woefully short of reaching a size of $100 billion by the end of this decade from $15 billion now, unless it moves from an advertising-led growth model to subscription-led growth, undertakes research into audience preferences, ensures enforcement of anti-piracy laws, and innovates to make the industry a truly creative business.

Stressing on the need to segregate gut feel from what the audience wanted, he urged the younger players in the media and entertainment business to regard research as a good guiding force, by which one could pre-empt what is going to be successful or otherwise.

He also lamented the fact that the consumers were still not paying for the content being consumed by them. "That explained the heavy dependence of the industry on advertising revenues - 80% - rather than on subscription," he said.

In this context, he said, introduction of 4G spectrum would be a game changer. A 4G system is expected to provide a comprehensive and secure all-IP based mobile broadband solution to laptop computer wireless modems, smart phones, and other mobile devices. Facilities such as ultra-broadband Internet access, IP telephony, gaming services, and streamed multimedia may be provided to users. “Let us therefore preserve 4G as a subscription-led growth tool,” he urged the industry players.

Referring to piracy, Screwvala said that the menace had to be controlled, for which, 'we will have to put up large sums of money upfront'. The proliferation of piracy, he said, was primarily due to lack of enforcement, not lack of regulation.

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