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Anuradha Kumar

Entertainment is what people do in their emotional spare time. Barely a couple of years or so ago, this definition would have been inconceivable. Changes initiated by technology, however, and competitive delivery systems now widely available have ensured that the centre stage is now taken by the consumer.   The story of entertainment has changed in the last few years, and while some of these have to do with policy, it is improvements in technology that have had the greater impact. ‘Convergence’ ensured by technology has in every sense empowered the consumer. Changes in the delivery system – broadband technology, for example – means that the consumer is now using varied technological tools to receive the entertainment she desires. No longer is a consumer a passive recipient of programmes dished out by a state-run broadcasting service. Convergence assured by technological developments has also ensured a greater interaction, cross-industry linkages between the film world, advertisers, the corporates, as well as the individual – whether as consumer or freelance producer.   Investment in the entertainment sector has in large part also been helped by the ever-widening consumer base: in the urban and also semi-urban and rural areas. The youth population (<25 years) now constitutes nearly 60 per cent of the Indian population and there is the Diaspora that is being increasingly accessed as a market. These translate into investment and also employment opportunities. But there is a caveat as well to this scenario. Opportunities may be growing but these remain urban-centred. Moreover, while technology has empowered the consumer, the investments required implies a simultaneous rise towards aggregation. Bigger companies are able to ensure larger investments, and thus the small marginal player will find the going tough.   The size of the Entertainment and Media industry in India is currently estimated at Rs. 437 billion (2007 figures, Price Waterhouse Coopers-FICCI report), and is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 18 percent over the next five years. In 2006, the sector grew by 20 percent. The Government too has liberalized investment in several key segments of the E&M sector. These estimates stand to be revised by the recent financial crisis, that in turn will mean a lowered investment climate for India. Nevertheless the story of the entertainment sector continues to be one of growth and opportunities waiting to tapped.   The E&M sector covers the print media, radio, as well as visual entertainment media. This article will limit itself largely to the ...

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