The Media and Entertainment industry has been the powerhouse of creative talent in India for several decades. The industry has added over `50,000 crore in output in the last 5 years and is at Rs. 130,000-135,000 crore in 2017. Taking into account the indirect and induced benefits to the economy the total industry size is Rs. 450,000 crore, with a contribution of 2.8 percent to GDP. The industry also employs, across both formal and informal sectors, 1-1.2 million people, contributing significantly to India’s job creation.

Most media companies are aware of the massive shifts in content creation and consumption in their industry. Companies are reinventing themselves by innovating their business models to both attract and retain audiences. The three vectors of growth highlighted in the previous year’s report – the digitally connected consumer, the rural consumer, and the potential of niche content – continue to represent the opportunity pools of growth in the industry.

The industry promises to continue a strong double-digit growth in the next 5 years, and is poised to add 700,000-800,000 new jobs in the country. With the rising consumer demands, changing business models, and digital disruptions, the industry needs to prepare itself for a completely different, and perhaps unrecognizable workforce by 2022. The demand for talent and functional skills in the industry will outstrip supply given the pace of growth. Concerted efforts from the government, academia, as well as industry bodies to create a large and skilled workforce to take the industry to the pinnacles of growth are the need of the hour.

In summary, there is significant potential for growth, with the industry creating additional 700,000-800,000 jobs in the next 5 years. However, industry participants with the support of the government, need to build a strong pipeline of talent and ensure large scale-up skilling of its current workforce.

The Indian M&E Story: Poised to be the Economy’s Next Blockbuster

 The M&E industry has been the powerhouse of creative talent in India for several decades. Still, the growth of this sector was curbed by the limited platforms available for consumption, which are now fast changing with the smartphone revolution underway. India already has the largest smartphone user base in the world. By 2020 it is predicted that every second Indian will have a personal media consumption device.

Additionally, Indians are now displaying an increased propensity towards consumption and spending on leisure and entertainment, given the significant rise in disposable incomes and aspirations of the upwardly mobile on the back of the country’s secular growth story. The Indian government has also backed the growth of the M&E industry through several initiatives such as the digitization of cable networks and raising FDI limits in cable and satellite platforms to 100 percent from 74 percent. These initiatives have enabled Indian media firms to now gain easier access to institutional finance, further catalyzing rapid growth.

Driven by these tailwinds, the Indian media and entertainment industry has grown at a strong 10 percent from 2011 to 2017, adding over `50,000 crore in additional revenue to the Indian economy. This is despite the short-term blip in the last 2 years on the back of demonetization and GST reforms, which are expected to be only a short term impact. Today, the media and entertainment industry accounts for 1 percent of India’s GDP in direct terms alone and is poised to continue a strong double-digit growth in the coming years.

 Despite its strong growth, the sector continues to underperform to its true potential. Globally, the media and entertainment industry contributes on average 2.6 percent of a country’s GDP. In India, this number is still well below the average at 1 percent. If the media and entertainment industry were to mature in India and match the global average, we would add over `250,000 crore to the Indian economy.

Way Forward

The growth journey of the Indian M&E industry has been strong and is expected to continue on an illustrious double-digit growth for the coming 5 years.

However, realizing this growth will need an industry ecosystem that is able to deal with major disruption in their business models. Most media companies are painfully aware of the massive shifts in content creation and consumption in their industry. The Indian M&E industry faces a unique set of challenges in the talent agenda, which need to be thought-through carefully and surmounted by industry interventions. However, if done right, the industry could poise itself for a growth trajectory similar to that charted by the Indian IT/ITeS industry in the 90s and 2000s. If the talent gap is not addressed, there could be a risk in achieving the projected growth and economic impact of the sector.

The industry needs to invest in the creation of a skill development ecosystem that supports the fast evolving need of the sector. Changes to education for the sector, up-gradation of existing skills, and collaborative partnerships between industry, government, and academia needs to be introduced at the earliest. Talent development is the key tenant of growth and expansion of the sector and organization in the media and entertainment sector needs to assess its HR capabilities going forward.

So how to get started? Collaboration between government, industry bodies, and organizations is essential. To that end, a media advisory task force can guide programs and initiatives, ensuring that the local voice is heard in planning and execution. This task force with industry and government representatives can be set up to identify and develop solutions for the key challenges faced by the industry and set itself for growth. The first agenda for the taskforce should be to explore and identify the Skills of the future. A detailed plan for developing a strong pipeline of talent, up skilling the large existing workforce, and embed in the soft skills required for the next wave of change are core to the success of the industry going forward.