Yohan P Chawla
Interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal’s announcement of the interim Union Budget has been widely well received, and key market indices such as the Sensex, which closed 212 points higher, and Nifty, which closed just short of the 10,900 mark, clearly reflected the general optimism and confidencethat the budget has infused into all sectors of the industry.
Leaders From Media & Entertainment were no exception. Relief for taxpayers, single-window approval for Indian film-makers, electronic tax assessment, the development of digital villages and the Artificial Intelligence portal are some highlights that have been well received.
Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO and MD, Viacom18
“The Hon’ble FM Shri Piyush Goyal has provided a tremendous fillip to the Indian Entertainment industry with the provision of single window clearance for films, in the Union Budget 2019. Such policy provisions that seek to enhance ease of doing business will help the ~INR156bn industry grow at a faster clip.”
“I also welcome the move to include anti-camcording provisions as part of the Cinematography Act. This will ensure that in-theatre pirated recordings now become a penal offense and will act as a strong deterrent to piracy.”
Partho Dasgupta, CEO, BARC India
“The budget appears to be a good effort to balance welfare goals and fiscal prudence. Despite being an interim budget, there are some welcome moves for the Industry – such as the single window clearance for Indian filmmakers, as well as anti cam-cording provision to combat piracy of films and music.”
“In the government’s continuing commitment to a Digital India, I see a great opportunity for digital content consumption to spread further into Bharat. Overall, I would say, a positive one.”
Sanjiv Puri, Managing Director, ITC Limited
“The Interim Budget proposals should augur well for the Indian economy by providing a growth impetus through a boost in consumption as well as an inclusive framework designed to benefit agri and rural communities, unorganised sector workers as well the middle class.”
“The PM Kisan Samman Nidhi programme, the move to set up 1,00,000 digital villages and the increase in allocation to rural infrastructural development will indeed go a long way in enabling empowerment of rural communities.”
Hiren Shah, Founder and Chairman, Vertoz.
“The interim budget has laid out a clear vision for the country’s development in the coming decade, and Digital India plays an important role with the government stressing on the development of digital infrastructure and digital economy. It was also heartening to understand that India is now leading the world with the highest mobile data consumption and has witnessed a growth of 50 times in the last five years. The Finance Minister also mentioned that the delivery of mobile data services has seen significant growth. Coupled with the Government’s vision of converting one lakh villages into digital villages, we will see a deeper penetration of the internet not only in tier II and tier III markets but also in rural areas.”
“We are also happy to see Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a focal part of the budget for Digital India. This support will ensure that AI, supported by Big Data, will enable the industry to successfully analyse consumer patterns with minimized human intervention. This also brings in the benefits of automation such as more efficiency and faster processing of data for advertising, thus allowing brands to get sales faster and within an effective timeline.”
Ashit Kukian, CEO, Radio City
“The Interim Budget 2019 has indeed lived up to the expectations of the common man with an estimated 12 crore farmers, 3 crore taxpayers and 30 crore labourers poised to benefit From the provisions. The pro-growth budget addresses key factors such as lessening GST burden on homebuyers, rural development and providing a boost for SMEs. We are hopeful that this will increase the domestic spending power of organisations,build consumer confidence and provide a boost to our economy as we steer towards a ‘New India’.
“With the radio industry gearing up for a transformational year with the convergence of media, technology and telecom industries, the government’s vision to further accelerate the Digital India program will help streamline this transition positively. “
Mitesh Shah, Head of Finance, BookMyShow
“It is probably for the first time in several years that the entertainment industry has been hailed as a force of employment generation. While the Finance Minister has offered incentives to the film industry, it is also worth recognising the huge scope that live entertainment offers, for employment and growth of the Indian economy. We hope that the GST Council along with the government can find solutions to streamline the existing tax structures for this sector as well and bring it below the current rate of 28%, to enable a well-rounded ecosystem.”
“We whole-heartedly support the government’s move to curb piracy through the introduction of the anti-camcording provision in the Cinematography Act. With these measures, we expect the regulatory framework of the entertainment industry to significantly change for the better.”
Prashan Agarwal, CEO, Gaana
“We are extremely positive about the implication of the proposed budget and strongly believe in the Digital Revolution introduced by the government. The increased consumption of mobile data in the last five years has paved way for the streaming market in India. It will impact the mobile streaming industry in multiple ways, mainly by strengthening penetration in tier II and tier III markets while also increasing exposure among a new set of a potential user base. Enhancing stickiness for the app and encouraging trials, the vision for Digital India will help Music Streaming apps attain it’s full potential in the online music space. Additionally, Artificial Intelligence coupled with Big Data will help bridge the gap between demand and supply through insightful analysis of evolving consumer preferences.”
Preetham Daniel, Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing – Asia, Harkness Screens
“Overall an inclusive budget addressing the needs of salaried section, pensioners, farmers and realty sector. In relation to entertainment industry, single window clearance for film makers is a good move as it will remove the hurdles in content generation.
“Anti-piracy initiatives by Govt. is a big step forward. Moving From smart cities digital villages will pave way for better penetration of content in all formats. India has an average screen density of 1 screen per population of 155000. Such positive measures in fiscal budget for entertainment industry coming along with GST rates rationalisation for film exhibition sector will certainly add steam and bring impetus to the growth pace of Indian Entertainment Industry. We are now well positioned to see the industry flourishing.”
Rajesh Uttamchandani, Director, Syska Group
“As India is poised to become a USD 5 trillion economy in next five years, there is an immense opportunity for Indian organizations to develop and flourish. With the rapid proliferation of new age technologies such as internet of things, artificial intelligence and others, we welcome the Government’s keen focus on building a digitally vibrant India in the next few years.
“This will provide an opportunity for companies such as Syska to introduce IoT enabled products that are affordable in the Indian market and help in developing smart cities. Additionally, as energy efficient product & solutions are seeing increased adoption, we are pleased with the Government providing 143 crore LED bulbs to rural areas. This resonates with our mission of providing energy efficient LED lighting solutions that are ‘Made in India’ to every Indian household.”