Value from data consumption in India being captured by foreign media platforms

New Delhi, Dec 2 (IANS): While Indians are the largest consumers of data, the value derived from this consumption is captured by Euro-American or Chinese media platforms.

According to a report by the Esya Centre co-authored by movie director, Shekhar Kapur, Indians are already the largest consumers of data in the world, consuming an average of 12 GB/month in 2019, which may rise to 25 GB/month by 2025.

"As things stand however, very little of this massive data consumption goes into Indian products or services. The value derived from this consumption is captured by Euro-American or Chinese media platforms – a failure on our part to harness the potential of this massive internet market", the report said.

Only 8.8 per cent of websites requested by users in south Asia are hosted here, a low proportion compared with regions such as east Asia (42 per cent) and US, Canada (74.2 per cent).

India's thriving domestic market has reacted positively to local content created by global platforms, representing significant underutilised strength. There is a need to address this gap between potential and reality, by creating Indian platforms and content that can benefit from the country's high data consumption, the report said.

The report emphasizes the need to promote creative freedom, which can be done through industry-led standards, as is the practice in countries around the world. This will require active and continued engagement by the industry, as well as recognition and support from the state.

"Second, we must focus on building our hardware capabilities. The bundling of content with devices is already ubiquitous. And finally, we need to move to a principles-based approach to regulation, which would ensure consistency of purpose across the expanding range of technologies in the media ecosystem", the report said.

Despite their prolific output and widespread popularity and acclaim, India's creative industries remain outdated.

"Notably, India lags behind in commercializing and monetizing intellectual property. While the country produces more feature films than the US and China put together, it generates the lowest revenue of the three", the report added.

Indian entertainment needs to be monetized more effectively, by unbundling its intellectual property through other sources of revenue such as merchandising, adaptations into formats such as comic books, game tie-ins, and amusement parks, and other venues for live entertainment.

The report argues that the first important transformation India should undertake is to usher in creative freedom, by encouraging industry standards to help provide viewers with information about content, allowing them to make their own viewing choices.

In the context of OTT, the industry should be encouraged to come together and standardize, to ensure consumers have all the information and technological controls they need, for making informed decisions about the content they consume. Such measures should seek to protect children from inappropriate materials, inform viewers about the themes of any particular content, and provide tools such as parental controls to ensure that parents can effectively regulate the content viewed by young children.


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