The Creative Sector: A Strategic Lever for Economic Growth

By

Uday Shankar, Chairman, FICCI, Media and Entertainment

A long-standing challenge for the creative community in India, has been an inability to quantify the economic contribution of industries that collectively constitute the "creative economy"; or the Media and Entertainment sector. This is due to several confounding factors, including lack of official data, a large variation in market structure across creative industries, and lack of institutional impetus. 

Fortunately, this reality is gradually changing for the better, as all stakeholders in the sector are beginning to realise the importance of data-driven research. Data can inform market participants and governments alike. In fact, empirical assessments must drive strategic decision-making, particularly at such times of transition in business and economic models. Our organizations must rapidly adapt to digital disruptions; and governments must recognise the merits of nurturing the requisite resilience within industry to do so.  

I am delighted that the latest MPA-Deloitte report attempts to nuance our understanding of industry metrics – both in terms of direct and indirect contributions to the Indian economy. The report highlights that the film and television industry contributed a total of USD 33.3 billion (INR 216,677 cr.) to the Indian economy and supported over 2.36 million jobs in 2017. What is particularly compelling about the report is its estimates of how the creative economy generates massive indirect benefits in other key service industries like tourism, and contributes towards the overall jobs growth in a significant way. This is something that is often overlooked by industry and more importantly the policymakers. 

While we should celebrate our growth, which the report pegs at a consistent 12 percent (CAGR) over the next five years, we must also be circumspect about the future. A stark statistic from the report is that India’s entire movie industry is less than many a Hollywood blockbuster. Moreover, the M&E sector in China is around ten times as large as India’s. Even when juxtaposed against differences in GDP per capita, there is a value-gap that remains unresolved. We must unfetter this value and commit to higher benchmarks of market performance, and governance and supportive policymaking.

This year will be critical for the creative economy in India. It will be challenged by legacy policy constructs, new entrants and new technology, and persistent traits and practices in the business environment. Therefore, it is vital, that all creative industry stakeholders begin to take the value of data-driven decision making more seriously, and that policy is more responsive to results presented in data sets. 

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