The inaugural session of the 5th Edition of FAST TRACK DIGITAL, organised by FICCI and presenting partner, the Motion Picture Association, was hosted virtually this morning, 25th November 2020. Moderated by Dr. Ashish Kulkarni, Founder, Punnaryug Artvision, the session sought to discuss how important a role the digital economy would play in revitalizing economic growth.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Ashish Kulkarni said that it is exciting to see how well the digital content economy has captured the imagination of the audience. Industry players, too, have been alert to these changes, which has led to a surge in VoD services and the content they offer. He also pointed out other areas where large growth has been observed, like the digital payment segment, sports, gaming, and the start-up ecosystem.
The welcome address was presented by Ms. Belinda Lui, President & Managing Director Asia Pacific, Motion Picture Association. Acknowledging how challenging this year has been in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, Ms. Lui said that the entertainment industry at large is encouraged by the spirit, ingenuity, and community displayed by those in the digital sector worldwide. “It is the one sector that has led the charge in delivering the best possible experience,” she said.
Ms. Lui also said that the growth of the VoD sector in India highlights that audiences across the world are responding well to the content offering. “Audiences across the globe have developed a new appreciation for Indian stories and culture. The incredible dynamic culture led by the VoD industry has helped develop a very high standard of storytelling,” she added.
Addressing the issue of piracy, Ms. Lui said that though it is an affront to businesses all over the world, the MPA along with the Alliance for Creative Entertainment (ACE) will continue “to protect the copyright that protects all work through every form of distribution channel.”
Delivering the keynote, Hon’ble Mrs. Justice Prathiba M. Singh, Judge, Delhi High Court, said, “If media and content creators have to remain free and fair they ought to involve free and fair adjudicatory mechanisms, which are not coercive in nature.”
Elaborating further, Justice Singh said, “OTT and VoD platforms and other creative content providers should also be a part of this mechanism. Such a system would also protect and preserve the rights guaranteed under the Constitution of India by effectively providing for reasonable restrictions. This would also minimize the need for legislative and judicial interference in issues relating to content,” she added.
Commenting on the rise of VoD services in the country, Justice Singh said that while the pandemic brought everything to a standstill, it proved to be the silver lining for the VoD services that have seen an exponential rise in the last 6-8 months.
However, the challenges, said Justice Singh, for the VoD services, have just begun. “While there can be no specific solution to the issues currently being faced by the broadcasters in general and digital platforms in particular, I would comment that inspiration should be taken from other self-regulatory or independent redressal mechanisms, which can be used as models for OTT and VoD and broadcaster platforms in general,” she further added.
The session was concluded with a vote of thanks by FICCI’s Secretary General, Mr Dilip Chenoy.