Indian Americans ensure a full house at FICCI FRAMES 2014 in Mumbai

The 15th Annual FICCI FRAMES conference on the Media & Entertainment (M&E) industry is back at the Rennaissance Hotel & Convention Centre situated on the picturesque Powai Lake in Mumbai. It’s Wednesday, March 12th 2014; Day 1 of the event, and the Indian American community is here again in full strength; veterans from the media business, aspirants in the field of entertainment, panelists, delegates, you name it, the conference has them all.

FICCI FRAMES is Asia’s largest global conference on the business of Media and Entertainment. Spanning three days, the conference covers the entire spectrum of the M&E industry, with back-to-back presentation sessions, panel discussions & master-classes focused on microspecializations such as film, television, radio, print, internet/digital media, animation and gaming among others. This highly-anticipated & most-respected industry event currently draws over 2,500 participants from all over the world, with India & USA together accounting for over 80% of the attendees.

The list of known names at the conference reads like a virtual Who’s Who of the global M&E industry. Attendees get to rub shoulders and interact one-on-one with top achievers in the business; for 2014, the list of presenters & panelists boasts (in alphabetical order of first name) Abhay Deol, Abhishek Bachchan, Anupam Kher, Arnab Goswami, Ajit Pai, Andy Paterson, Collin Burrows, Farhan Akhtar, Guneet Monga, Hiromichi Masuda, Javed Akhtar, Jim Egan, Kajol, Kazutaka Akimoto, Kirron Kher, Lakshmi Praturi, Mark Eyers, Michael Best, Nancy Silberkleit, Priyanka Chopra, Punit Goenka, Rajeev Masand, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Ramesh Sippy, Roger Fisk, Sanjay Gupta, Shanker Tucker, Siddharth Roy Kapur, Sonam Kapoor, Shaan, Sudhanshu Vats, Sudhir Mishra, Stuart Haskayne, Stuart Sender, Uday Shankar and Vikram Chandra, to name a few.

Day 1 of the event saw the inauguration by actress Sonam Kapoor lighting the ceremonial lamp. This was followed by the welcome address from Harshavardhan Neotia, Vice President, FICCI. Harshvardhan highlighted critical developments within the M&E industry over the past 15 years. He spoke about the digitization of cable television, privatization of FM radio, clarifications in GST, introduction of a single window clearance system and future trends such as FDI in media, the mobile internet and simplification of policies. He ended his address by emphasizing the role of media in corporate governance and social responsibility. This was followed by opening remarks from Uday Shankar, Chairman, FICCI and also CEO, Star India.

He discussed the role of government in the industry. Uday stated that government and the media needed to work together to sustain the vibrancy of the industry. He stressed that media’s role has evolved from mere reporting to seeking accountability & transparency from elected office-bearers of the nation. He also touched upon obstacles faced by the media when it published or broadcast coverage critical of the government of the day. He ended with the hope that the new government elected in May 2014 would look at media as a partner and not as an adversary. Punit Goenka, CEO, Zee Entertainment delivered the theme address next. He was followed by the vision statement from Bimal Julka, Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.

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Bimal dwelt on the importance of censorship in the Indian media. Srivatsa Krishna, Secretary, Government of Karnataka (partner state for FRAMES 2014) was next; he emphasized the various initiatives being undertaken by his government in the field of media & entertainment. Finally, it was the turn of Ajit Pai, the dynamic young Commissioner of the FCC, USA (Federal Communications Commission). A second-generation Indian American, he shared insights about the role of FCC in America and the way in which the American government facilitates innovation within the M&E industry. He provided instances of successful partnerships between the government and key players from within the private sector in USA, which helps in enabling worldclass infrastructure for the industry. His address was very well-received by the audience.

The FCC is an independent agency of the United States government, created by Congressional statute to regulate interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable in all 50 states, DC and US territories. The FICCI-KPMG 2014 report on the Indian Media & Entertainment industry was officially released after Ajit’s address; the highlight of this report is the growth registered by various disciplines within the industry. This inaugural session was followed by a series of presentations, panel discussions & master-classes. Detailed coverage of these sessions along with interviews of key presenters & panelists will be provided at the end of the conference.

The list of media corporations at this year’s convention includes Archie Comics, BBC, Bloomberg, CNN IBN, Discovery Networks, Disney India, Fox Star Studios, Google, India Today, INK Salon, Microsoft, NBA, NDTV, Reliance Entertainment, Sony, Star India, Shochiku (Japan), Times Now, Turner International, TV France, Viacom18 and Zee Entertainment. The convention also features government bodies or political organizations such as the Australian High Commission (partner country for FRAMES 2014), BJP, CBFC, FCC (USA), INC, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (India) and Obama’s Presidential Campaign Team for 2008 & 2012. Finally, there are a number of M&Ecentric corporations with booths at the event, looking to showcase a wide range of industry tools & accessories such as filmmaking & broadcasting equipment, studio apparatus, animation tools, software solutions & related technology.

Established in 1927, FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry) is the largest and oldest apex business organization in India. FICCI’s history is closely interwoven with India’s struggle for independence and subsequent emergence as one of the most rapidly growing economies globally. FICCI plays a leading role in policy debates that are at the forefront of social, economic and political change. A non-government, not-for-profit organization, FICCI is viewed as one of the major voices of India’s business and industry.

It works closely with the government on policy issues, enhancing efficiency, competitiveness and expanding business opportunities for industry through a range of specialized services and global linkages. Partnerships with countries across the world carry forward it’s initiatives in inclusive development, which encompass critical issues such as health, education, livelihood, governance & skill development. Through its dedicated team of over 400 professionals, FICCI is active in 38 sectors of the global economy. FICCI’s stand on policy issues is sought out by think tanks, governments across the world and academia; it has joint business councils with 79 nations.

Its publications are widely read for their in-depth research and policy prescriptions. FICCI’S Entertainment Division serves as the vital link between the Media & Entertainment industry, the Ministry for Information & Broadcasting (India) and global players. In addition to organizing FICCI FRAMES annually, this division conducts & releases pioneering studies related to the industry, assists in policy decisions and helps in scaling up the industry through various initiatives. The division is currently headed by Uday Shankar (Chairman) and Ramesh Sippy (Co-chairman).

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