The digitalisation boom, the increasing smartphone penetration, the advent of globalisation, and the resulting evolution in consumers’ preferences have led to a re-imagination of the entertainment industry in India. Today’s millennials, with access to superlative and wide-ranging digital products and services from path-breaking apps/platforms/networks, no longer prefer being glued to their TV screens for episodic serials and motion films. The demand of today’s consumer is for entertainment options that are diverse, meaningful, easily accessible, engaging, and rich in experiential value.
With the media and entertainment (M&E) sector contributing 2.8 percent to India’s GDP, it has become all the more significant for entertainment companies to focus on creating and distributing content that is in sync with the millennials’ ideologies/thought-systems, caters to their need for aesthetic pleasure, and is infused with innovation, novelty, and transformation.
Shifting trends in India’s entertainment industry
An average millennial can be spotted on his/her phone, buying bags and shoes, chatting with friends, booking a restaurant/party hall, and carrying out a range of everyday functions all at once. This digital revolution has resulted in massive shifts in the ways in which we think of and respond to the world around us, as the world around us is larger and more culturally nuanced than ever before. As the average consumer develops tastes that are a blend of the local and the global, the Indian landscape presents a range of emerging possibilities for entertainment service providers. Between 2011 and 2016, the M&E industry grew at a CAGR of 11.61 percent to reach a whopping $19.59 billion.
The emergence of globally-inspired live entertainment
These changing cultural preferences have also resulted in the provision of high-end path-breaking entertainment products from leading players across genres. Game-changers in the industry are offering globally-inspired family entertainment to Indian audiences, such as the Indian co-production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake Ballet. It was performed by international artists in elaborate settings that appeal to young and old art patrons alike. Mughal-e-Azam’s theatre version was another show immensely liked by all age groups.
Furthermore, India is also witnessing an upsurge of live shows in domains such as drama, dance, music, comedy, and spoken word, amongst others. In the past decade, India has witnessed live music shows/concerts from some of the most acclaimed artists and bands around the world, with names such as Chris Martin, Demi Lovato, Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran, Enrique, etc. Whether it’s pop, electronic, hard rock, or trance, India has experienced it all, and how, with bands like Metallica and DJs like Eric Prydz, Tiesto, and Armin Van Buuren making Indians head-bang or tap their feet to their beats and tunes.
The emergence of cultural tourism in India
Entertainment no longer comes in monotonous packages of expected deliverables, as live shows and festivals are set in culturally rich locations, allowing one to experience cultural amalgamation from across the globe. Some of the popular festivals include names like the Hornbill Festival, which allows one to experience Nagaland’s handicrafts and natural attractions; Rajasthan’s Magnetic Fields, which is an epochal music event infused with contemporary acts; and Goa’s Sunburn, which is ideal for lovers of electronic music, amazing beaches, and colonial architecture.
Attracting tourists from multiple locations in India and abroad, these festivals are a major source of remuneration for locals in Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, Jodhpur, etc. Known for their cultural exuberance, these festivals and events make India a trending location for foreign travellers as well, promoting leisure, business, and cultural tourism. Additionally, the stakeholders investing in lucrative promotional campaigns are helping position these fairs/festivals as the most efficient reflections of India’s multicultural landscape.
Government initiatives for promoting high-end entertainment
In addition to experiencing increasing customer demand and emerging as one of the fastest growing advertising markets in Asia, India is backed by government initiatives and reforms which are liberalizing conditions in the entertainment sector as per the suggestions of the Information & Broadcasting Ministry. The government is geared towards the establishment of the National Centre of Excellence for animation, gaming, visual effects, and the comics industry in Mumbai, in collaboration with the I&B Ministry and FICCI. Such a centre, in India’s entertainment hub, is the need of the hour to cater to the need-gap for a skilled workforce in the M&E sector.
Additionally, the growth curve was incentivized with the government’s approval of the National Film Heritage Mission, worth a whopping Rs 597.41 crore, which is oriented towards the preservation, conservation, digitalization, and restoration of India’s rich cinematic heritage. It is also reported that the Films Division Complex in Mumbai will witness the emergence of a National Museum of Indian Cinema (NMIC) to encapsulate the evolution of cinema and generate interest amongst future generations.
Moreover, for ensuring hassle-free business, the Film Facilitation Office (FFO) was set up in NDFC, which can act as a single-window facilitation mechanism for film-related clearances to ease filming across jurisdictions. As part of the National Film Awards, an award has also been instituted in order to honour the most film-friendly states. Gujarat emerged as the first state to win this award. Also, increasing attention is being paid to concerns regarding the viability and credibility of stand-alone news channels and the low theatre density in India, amongst a multitude of issues.
Additionally, an audiovisual co-production agreement has been signed by the Indian and Canadian governments to facilitate financial and creative collaboration on various facets of filmmaking.
Expanding at an exponential growth rate with 3.5-4 million jobs, the Indian M&E industry is set to generate 6.5 million jobs by 2022. Since all the parameters are in sync with the evolving sensibilities of today’s consumers who are no longer satisfied with run-of-the-mill entertainment, all stakeholders in the entertainment business are set for boundless growth in the near future. India’s entertainment landscape is ridden with possibilities and potential, for one and all who are part of this ground-breaking revolution.
Dinesh Singh is the Founder of Gurugram-based Navrasa Duende.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)