TheNFAPost Podcast

Bengaluru, NFAPost: Mr. Biren Ghose, President of ABAI & Country Head of Technicolor, revealed some interesting insights into India’s gaming and entertainment industry in his keynote address on the second day of Bengaluru tech Summit 2020. He also highlighted key emerging trends, opportunities and challenges in the AVGC world (Animation, Visual Effects, Games and Comics) with the onset of Covid-19 pandemic.

“Animation, Visual Effects, Games and Comics (aka AVGC) is already proving itself to be an agent of change in India’s economic landscape. And Bengaluru has grown to achieve a pride of place, due to the overwhelming partnership, the leadership in thought and action, between the government and the industry which has led to India’s very first AVGC policy,” Mr. Biren explained.

“The overall Indian media-entertainment industry has a revenue rate of about ₹ 1.7 trillion this year. And it has seen a compound annual growth rate of about 10% over the past 5 years. Within that segment, however, animation has grown over 18% and games 34%. Just around 12 years ago, the AVGC sector was less than 2% of this total buy,” he added to emphasise the importance of gaming industry for India’s economic growth.

Speaking about the future prospects of Visual Effects (VFX) in India; Mr. Biren points out that it has a massive scope once television and live-action films start shooting again. He also underlines the fact that VFX plays a major role in bringing value to the domestic movies as well as the international releases, wherein it shares almost 15% of the total revenues generated by film sales in India.

“Film, TV and OTT together generate a gross output of about $16 billion (₹ 115,000 crores) and it employs about 8.5 lakhs people. And the indirect and induced effects of this industry creates $49m (₹ 350 crores) of the total gross output and employs 2.6 million people,” he added.

Mr. Biren also highlighted the fact that a major portion of around 65% of AVGC revenues comes from the AVGC services to the global market and this could present a massive business opportunity for India’s economic growth in the future.

“The significant ramp up and further integration of India with these global supply chains of production of AVGC is perhaps the biggest opportunity in our sector. And it will not only create the upgradation of skillsets, but will give rise to more production tools. I believe that the positive impact can impact all industries involved in simulation, animation and imagery,” he reiterated while stressing on AVGC service exports for better economic growth of the country.

Mr. Biren also points out that India’s Goods and Services export needs to scale up to the levels of South Korea and China in order to make a significant economic gain in the gaming and entertainment industry, which will invariably restore the country’s economy back to its normalcy.

He also touches upon the need for larger companies to take up development projects and make investments in the AVGC sector in order to attract supply-chain vendors that will fuel the MSMEs as well as the freelance sector.

Mr. Biren’s Demands to Govt. of Karnataka to Nurture the Growth of Gaming Industry in India

Mr. Biren appeals to the government of Karnataka to emulate the Global Services Delivery model which is pioneered by leading entertainment companies like Zynga, Technicolor and Rockstar.  He puts forward the following demands to the local government for the development of gaming industry in India:

  • To encourage IP development in e-sports, XR and animation
  • Assist with enabling generous and light-touch policies that can look at opportunities like a mega hub for large scale exports with a special dispensation for the year 2020-21.
  • Help in continuing to market the brand Bengaluru for AVGC through the partnering of GAFX and the B2B summits.
  • Work with the private sector to create a scholarship program to help lower-income tier-2 and tier-3 cities get the youngsters trained on the tech jobs for tomorrow.
  • Complete the COE infrastructure and give the project an interim relief with a further 3-year contract since we have lost at least 18-20 months in its present format due to the pandemic.
  • Refresh the AVGC policy and bring out the 3.0 to include e-sports and immersive media in line with new technologies and widen our scope to other industries as they are now participating in AVGC type creation of content, technology and services.

“I request the Karnataka government to leverage and amplify their success story. No country, company, government or community can weather the next 10 to 20 years without re-imagining and overhauling their development agenda,” he concludes.

Emerging Technologies

Talking about the emerging technologies, Mr. Biren points out those autonomous robots, simulation, AI, Big data, data analytics, AR, VR, Cloud and IoT will be the normal agents of change and it becomes important to adopt the existing tech platforms to these new norms.

He also detailed the development strategy used by Technicolor in its early days to emerge as a successful venture in the entertainment industry. Furthermore, Mr. Biren threw some light on how they transformed from a simple training lab to grow up into a slew of digital art centres that were spread across 27 locations within the country, with 26 of them situated outside Bengaluru.

Mega Project – AVGC Centre of Excellence

Talking about the mega project ‘AVGC centre of Excellence’ at Bengaluru which is funded by the government of Karnataka, Mr. Biren points out that it is a venture proposed and managed by ABAI on behalf of the Govt. with world leading infrastructure in terms of motion capture and other VFX equipment.

He further explains how the gaming community brings like-minded people to share a similar immersive experience and creates an ever-lasting bond between them in newer and different ways.

Game Layer and Social Layer

Talking about the intrinsic game layer technicalities, here is what Mr. Biren had to say:

“Game layer is a pervasive net of behaviour-steering game dynamics that will go beyond entertainment and reshape education and commerce and everything else in our lives. It is going to bring this obsessive nature of the medium I talked about and apply it to research, to discovery and marketing, and teaching within the safe environment of one’s home.”

“And while the social layer is all about connections and it is the marketing platform for today. The game layer is about influence. It is about using dynamics, using forces to influence behaviour of where you are, what you do and how you do it,” he added.

“The game layer is going to be more important than the social layer, because it is going to affect our lives more deeply and invisibly. It is going to be the communicator and marketer’s delight,” Mr. Biren summed up the essence of gaming in true words.

Finally, Mr. Biren concludes that the gaming business in India is a $5 billion opportunity when compared to what Indonesia has achieved in the last 5 years.

He wraps it up by sharing some interesting thoughts about VR, AR & XR after suggesting that he would dedicate a full track at the upcoming Bengaluru GAFX show to talk extensively about games and innovation to bring fresh ideas to the table.

Mr. Biren’s Firechat with Mr. Robert Winthrop – Hollywood Producer @DreamWorks Animation

Talking about artists, the exponential penetration of the internet and the reign of OTT apps like Netflix, Amazon and YouTube; Mr. Biren engages in a lively chat with Mr. Robert Winthrop while making interesting comparisons between India’s popular Kids TV show – Chota Bheem and America’s ‘Boss Baby’.

They arrive at the conclusion that the cross-country cultures are now getting blurred out as the visual story has gained precedence regardless of the show’s original language as local dubbing is now readily available in both the US and India in native language forms.

Consequently, Chota Bheem has topped the popularity charts on Netflix across multiple countries like India and the US with the sole reason of having an interesting character as the protagonist.

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