M&E Industry To Accelerate Its Growth Credit Of Course Goes To Digitization

Digitization

The country’s media and entertainment (M&E) sector touched Rs 1.5 trillion ($22.7 billion) in 2017, with a growth of around 13 per cent over 2016. The M&E sector reached about Rs1.5 trillion in 2017, a growth of around 13% over 2016, said a report released by the lobby group Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) along with consulting firm EY. The report was launched at the annual media and entertainment industry event FICCI Frames in Mumbai. A study by the consultancy firm EY India said this is expected to cross Rs 2 trillion ($31 billion) by 2020, with a compounded annual growth (CAGR) of 11.6 per cent. This growth is being led by the digital segment, showing that advertising budgets are in line with the changes in content consumption patterns. The report observes the sector continues to grow faster than that of the country’s gross domestic product.

Subscription growth outpaced advertising during 2017 but advertising will continue to grow till 2020, led by the digital segment. Farokh Balsara, partner and M&E leader at EY India, asked, “With digital subscribers expected to reach 20 million by 2020, has Indian M&E reached its digital tipping point? We need to re-imagine the future of Indian M&E.” Ashish Pherwani, partner and M&E advisor at EY India, said: “Growth in 2017 was led by the digital, film and animation and VFX (visual effects) segments.” Digital media has grown significantly over the past few years. And, continues to lead the growth charts in advertising. Subscription revenues are emerging and are expected to make their presence felt by 2020. In 2017, digital media grew 29.4 per cent (27.8 per cent, net of the impact of goods and services tax), on the back of 28.8 per cent growth in advertising and of 50 per cent in subscription. Subscription was only 3.3 per cent of total digital revenues in 2016. It is expected to grow to 9 per cent by 2020. Around 250 million viewed videos online in 2017 and this is expected to double by 2020. Around 40 per cent of all mobile traffic came from the consumption of video services in 2015. This is expected to touch 72 per cent by 2020.

Digital

Without doubt, this is a growth driven by digital media that has notched up the highest and most phenomenal numbers of the year, growing by 29.4% in 2017. This includes a 28.8% growth in advertising and a 50% growth in subscription. The latter, which was just 3.3% of total digital revenues in 2016, is expected to grow to 9% by 2020.

“The Indian M&E sector reached Rs1.5 trillion in 2017 led by digital,” said Farokh Balsara, partner and M&E leader, EY India in a statement. “With digital revenues expected to cross Rs22,000 crore by 2020, has Indian M&E reached its digital tipping point? We now need to re-imagine the future of the Indian M&E sector.”

Subscription-based over-the-top (OTT) streaming services have flooded the Indian market over the past two years with around 30 players vying for audiences’ attention. These include both American services like Amazon Prime Video and Netflix as well as a host of local platforms like Balaji Telefilms’ ALTBalaji and those owned by broadcast networks like Star India’s Hotstar.

OTT

OTT subscription in India is expected to touch Rs2,000 crore by 2020. And recent investments by companies such as Reliance Jio that already has stakes in Network18, ALT and movie studio Eros International, will make media convergence a reality. With over 300 million internet-enabled mobile phones and falling tariff rates, digital media presence in the country is only expected to grow.

About 250 million people viewed videos online in 2017 and these numbers are expected to double to 500 million by 2020. Around 40% of total mobile traffic came from the consumption of video services in 2015 and this figure is expected to touch 72% by 2020. Ninety-three percent of time spent on digital videos is in Hindi and other regional languages. Among traditional forms of entertainment, films grew by the largest share—27% in 2017 to reach overall figures of Rs15,600 crore with box office collections of the top 50 films growing by 11.6%.

Films

The report attributes the growth to both domestic and international box office revenue, and the latter may be traced back to the phenomenal success of films like Dangal that grossed about Rs2,000 crore worldwide, including Rs1,200 crore in China alone.

This was coupled with increased returns from ancillary streams like satellite television and digital, with home video remaining the only segment that failed to display growth. While regional cinema drove the growth in terms of the number of releases, Hindi films continue to make up the majority of the Indian film segment, contributing almost 40% of the net domestic box office collections annually, despite comprising only 17% of the films made.

The number of Hindi movies crossing the Rs100 crore mark was the highest in 2017 in the past five years. Films in 29 other Indian languages, while accounting for 75% of the total films released, together contributed only 50% to the annual domestic box office earnings. Screen count, an age-old challenge for the Indian film industry increased marginally—from 9,481 in 2016 to 9,530 in 2017.

Television

Television, meanwhile, grew by 11.2%, from Rs59,400 crore to Rs66,000 crore in 2017, with advertising growing to Rs267 billion and comprising 40% of the revenues and distribution growing to Rs39,300 crore and making up the remaining 60%. At the broadcaster level, however, subscription revenues (including international subscription) made up approximately 28% of revenues. The report expects advertising to grow to 43% of total revenues by 2020 from its current contribution of 41%.

Print

Print remained largely static, growing at 3% to reach Rs30,300 crore in 2017. India’s reader base stands at 395 million or 38% of the population, having grown by 110 million over the past three years. The rural reader base (52%) is higher than urban (48%). The print media is estimated to grow at an overall CAGR of approximately 7% till 2020 with vernacular publications at 8%-9% and English at slightly slower rates.

This growth is expected despite the 26% foreign direct investment (FDI) limit remaining unchanged, restricting access to foreign print players and the imposition of 5% GST on advertising revenues emerging from the print industry. The Indian M&E sector witnessed a relatively new trend in deal activity with emerging segments such as gaming and digital gaining momentum, while deal activity in the traditional media segments was slower, the report stated.

The slowdown can be partially attributed to challenges faced by the advertising segments of the industry due to demonetization and GST that was implemented in July last year. Overall, the number of transactions in the M&E sector decreased from 56 deals in 2016 to 40 in 2017. Further, the total deal value was also lower at $1.26 billion in 2017 compared to $2.86 billion in 2016.

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