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This could be a key event for content providers in India. Three industry bodies – Film and Television Producers Guild of India (FTPGI), the Indian Music Industry (IMI) and ASSOCHAM have signed MoUs to together ensure a parity in rates for content, and join forces for combating piracy. At Convergence India, today, Amit Dev of the FTPGI (and also the founder of IPTV co Time Broadband) announced the formation of a new trade body for the Media and Entertainment Industry – the Entertainment Export Promotion Council. Dev, who will be the convener of the organization, said that so far, the intermediaries have been pocketing the money and content owners have been losing out.
It seems that the key content providers have joined forces and will be together negotiating rates with mobile operators. The body has around 280 members, and they together produce roughly 84 percent of number of minutes on screen in India, around 98 percent of cinema hall minutes and a couple of billion minutes of airtime on radio. The content owners, he said, have pledged their content so “there can be a transparent exchange with telecom operators.” So far, content owners have negotiated separately, and the fragmentation in the industry has resulted in the deals being heavily in favour of telcos. Such bodies are usually highly political and slow moving, and it will be important for everyone to have an equal say – not just the bigger content owners. If smaller content owners don’t get enough of a say, you just might find them breaking ranks and negotiating deals separately.
Dev also mentioned that they’re going to go after content pirates – both the pirates and white collar piracy. He shared some bits from the proposed IT Act: the Indian government is going to enact a very strong copyright act under World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). “Today, we have illegal and semi-legal content. When the new IT act is enacted, if anybody has more than 4 optical DVDs of pirated content, the head of the family can be held accountable. Today the mobile operators allow sending of proprietary content from one user to another. If network service providers air more than 1 hr of pirated content in a month, the chairman of the company can be held accountable. We’re hoping that the whole country will move to the IPR regime,” Dev said.