As the three-day FICCI Frames media and entertainment conference came to a close in Mumbai yesterday, industry leaders had agreed on three recession-busting strategies - collaboration, improving consumer relations and cutting costs.

Speaking at the closing session, Zee chairman Subhash Chandra spoke of the entertainment industry's need to pull together if it was to overcome challenges such as shrinking capital and declining ad revenues.

'If all the stakeholders of this business had worked hand-in-hand, we would already have grown to be a $20bn industry,' Chandra said. 'If we continue as we have over the next ten years, we will grow to be a $35-40bn industry. But if we co-operate we could reach $60bn in ten years.'

Chandra also spoke of the need to listen to audiences: 'Yash Raj Films' success rate has been four to five times more than that of other producers. The reason for that is because they make films for audiences, whereas most other producers are making movies for distributors who are writing their cheques.'

Cost-cutting was also a recurring theme at the conference - and one that is particularly relevant in India where production costs had spiralled out of control in 2008. 'Last year capital was a commodity but now capital is king,' said Reliance Entertainment president Rajesh Sawhney in a session entitled 'Recession and the Entertainment Industry'.

'We will have to follow zero-based budgeting, revisit consumer relations and search for growth in areas such as regional markets.'

Technology was often mentioned as a method of reducing costs - PVR Pictures CEO Uday Singh observed how digital cinema is helping films reach a wider audience at lower cost. He also said Slumdog Millionaire had received a boost in India through its release in e-cinemas - as it was classed as an Indian film.

Although India's domestic box office has taken less of a hit than the TV industry, gross receipts are expected to fall this year due to a lower number of releases.

According to Big Pictures COO Sunir Kheterpal, around 50 or 60 Hindi films won't receive a theatrical release in 2009 because no-one is willing to acquire their distribution rights. 'This used to be sellers market, but now it's a buyers market,' Kheterpal said.

Further complicating matters, Indian producers and exhibitors are currently locked in a dispute over revenue splits, which may postpone some upcoming releases.

Slumdog Millionaire was also frequently discussed. While the film has created controversy in India for its portrayal of the country's poverty, it has also been lauded as an example of India's filmmaking prowess.

In a session on the globalisation of India's film industry, High Point Films' Carey Fitzgerald urged Indian producers to take advantage of the film's success: 'This is a marvellous opportunity to sell other Indian films - this is the time to contact sales companies in Europe and the US.'

To mark its tenth anniversary, Frames also ramped up the glamour quotient with an awards ceremony on the opening night, attended by stars such as Amitabh Bachchan, Kareena Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Shilpa Shetty. FICCI and the US-India Business Council also presented an award to US actor Danny Glover and to congressman John Lewis.