A recurring theme was the lack of management expertise and a lack of talent, with only a handful of stars able to guarantee box office. At a session on India's talent crunch, Whistling Woods International's Meghna Ghai Puri pointed out that India still only hasa handful ofmedia courses while there are around 2,000 in the US.
And despite the trend towards corportisation in the film and TV industries, both sectors remain extremely fragmented. At an opening session, Sony Entertainment Television CEO Kunal Dasgupta observed that India 'does not have many TV production houses that are creating their own IPR [intellectual property rights] and becoming global'.
At the closing session, Kaleidoscope managing director Bobby Bedi urged the industry to look beyond the hype surrounding growth figures and examine the real issues. 'We need to focus on the creation, protection and exploitation of IPR, along with the marketing and monetisation of mid-budget films,' Bedi said.
Also speaking at the closing session, Ron Somers, president of the US-India Business Council, called on the industry to combat piracy which siphons off around $4bn a year. According to an Ernst & Young report released at Frames on Thursday, the film industry is losing $959m a year from piracy and the TV industry is losing $2.68bn. Indian films account for 62% of total pirated films, while MPA studio films account for 20% and other films are at 18%.
'The way forward is to build public awareness on the need to fight counterfeiting and piracy, advocate against piracy by supporting the passage of the optical disc legislation and fighting the scourge of cross-border piracy,' Somers said.
Censorship was also a hot topic during Frames following thefate of recent releases such as Jodhaa Akbar and Aaa Jaa Nach Le which were blocked by organisations in various Indian states, despite passing national censorship. Filmmaker Shyam Benegal said much of theblame lies with the TV networks whose camera crewsmake a handful of protestors seem like a mob.
Yet despite the words of caution, the overall message at Frames was one of growth - both in terms of box office and ancillary revenues - and also an influx of capital from local players and overseas. Reliance Entertainment chairman Amit Khanna summed up theoverall mood of theconference in its closing minutes when he said: 'Creating the conditions for take-off is optional, butdon't forget that landing is mandatory.'