India’s film and television industries contributed $8.1bn (Rs500bn) to the country’s economy in 2013, according to a report launched by Deloitte at the ongoing FICCI Frames conference in Mumbai.

One of India’s largest and fastest growing sectors, the industry equates to 0.5% of India’s gross domestic product (GDP) and also supports 1.8 million jobs.

The report was presented during a FICCI panel by the Motion Picture Distribution Association (MPDA) India, in partnership with FICCI and two local industry associations: the Film and Television Producers Guild of India (FTPGI) and the Film Federation of India (FFI).

Industry representatives observed that the sector had the potential to contribute on an even greater scale if content was better protected and the complex system of taxation imposed on the industry was reviewed.

Speaking on a panel entitled ‘Talking Numbers: Hard Facts about the Indian M&E’s Economic Contribution’, Siddharth Roy Kapur, managing director of The Walt Disney Company India, said: “The year 2013 has been an interesting one for the media and entertainment industry. For filmed entertainment it has been another year of strong growth for the theatrical business, which still accounts for the lion’s share of overall revenue.

“For television it has been a ‘wait and watch’ year, driven by changes in the regulatory environment, a new ratings system on the anvil, an overall slowdown in advertising growth and finally, a mixed report card on digitisation with lower than expected growth in DTH subscribers balanced by positive signs on carriage fee reductions.”

Viacom 18 Media CEO Sudhanshu Vats said: “There is need to build capacity across people, funding, technology and infrastructure. We need to add more than 2.5 million to the workforce over the next eight years. New funding models are needed to diversify risks for investors as well as to put together larger budget productions in line with global standards.”

FFI president Ravi Kottarakara said: “India is the largest producer of films in the world, with 1,602 films released in 2012, however up to 90% of those films do not release in cinemas, due to the inadequate number of screens in the country.

“The Indian film and TV industry supports 1.8 million jobs which include talented artists, technicians, directors and daily wage workers whose livelihoods depend on the profitability of this industry. However piracy continues to create a negative impact on the profitability of our industry.”