Next big thing in M&E: Small budget films, short format content

MUMBAI: Economic slowdown, recession, correction or precaution, call it whatever you wish. Doesn’t matter what the current economic climate in the media and entertainment industry is, it doesn’t stop the head honchos and businessmen from exploring the next big thing in films and TV.

Director and producer Karan Johar stated unequivocally at FICCI Frames that UTV Spotboy is the next big thing in the movie business. Johar especially appreciated films such as Dev D and A Wednesday produced by UTV. He said, "There is a movement taking place right now and I see content driven, independent, small budget movies as the next big thing in the cinema industry, which will add new talent, energy and idea to the industry. We need to focus on core content and not be swayed by the commercial bait. Most importantly we need to empower our writers."

UTV Software Communications chairman Ronnie Screwvala, however, had a different viewpoint. He said, "Big budget movies have a smaller risk proposition. To make smaller movies is a tougher model, as you stand to lose your entire investment if a film is not well made."

Screwvala pinpointed five triggers for the future of film and TV industry, which are the imperative of putting out a global story, harnessing of key learnings from the past, the ability to cater to young India, generate consumer spending on content and accent on research.

Director Shekhar Kapur brought to the table an altogether different observation. He said, "Niche Indian movies have been ignoring the masses in India and this is not a right approach in filmmaking. India is not a country of the elite; therefore cinema cannot neglect the larger segment residing in hinterlands of India."

While for movies his approach was that to produce content appealing to all Indian audiences, for TV he felt that niche content streamed through different channels on platforms such as the internet is the next big thing in the form of broadband and IPTV. "Such content would need to be promoted through viral marketing. A heavy usage of social networking websites and blogs are also the next big marketing tools," Kapur said.

In 2006, when the entertainment industry drifted towards the money making model, it was thought to be the next big thing. However, in retrospect it can definitely be said now that this only made the going tough. Moreover, now is the time when the unwanted froth will be axed and the tough will get going towards the realization of the next big thing in films and TV.

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