(L-R) Keertan Adyanthaya, Monica Tata, Sunil Lulla, Uday Shankar, Punit Goenka and Lydia Buthello
At a press conference in Mumbai on 1 August, the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), the governing body for broadcasters in India, announced the launch of the first ever Indian TV Fest ’12. Scheduled to be held on 2 and 3 November, the festival will take place at the Baga Grounds, Goa.
The two-day festival is positioned as a platform for the Indian and global broadcasting industry to network and exchange ideas through panel discussions and master classes.
Some of the confirmed speakers so far include Andy Bird, chairman, Walt Disney International; James Murdoch, - deputy chief operating officer, chairman and chief executive officer, International News Corporation; Michael Lynton, chief executive officer, Sony Corporation of America; Hugh Johnson, head commercial marketing and research, Channel 4; and Subhash Chandra, chairman, Zee and Essel Group.
Addressing a press conference to announce the festival, Uday Shankar, chief executive officer, STAR India, and president, IBF, said, "The industry is big enough now to merit, create and sustain such a festival. We are a competitive industry, but the spirit of competitiveness is sometimes taken to an illogical extreme. We don't come together often enough to see how we can benefit the business that we are in and serve society, both of which are organically linked. During the festival, we can leave the competitive nature behind, and talk about the future and larger issues and goals that are essential for us."
The other office bearers of the IBF are Sunil Lulla, managing director and chief executive officer, Times Television Network, and Punit Goenka, managing director and chief executive officer, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL).
The ITF Festival organizing committee comprises Lulla; Keertan Adyanthaya, managing director, NGC Networks India; Monica Tata, general manager, entertainment networks, South Asia, Turner International India; and Lydia Buthello, head of events, Star India.
At the press conference, an IBF report on the impact of television on India titled 'Posi-TV-ity' was also released.
Post the conference, Campaign India caught up with Zee's Punit Goenka and NGC's Keertan Adyanthaya for more on the festival.
Campaign India: Why this year for the launch?
Punit Goenka (PG): No specific reason. I think this year is as good as any other year to start this festival.
Keertan Adyanthaya (KA): We've been talking about this for close to a year and a half. The thought has been in various people's minds for even longer than that. I think it all just came together and we all decided to work together under Uday's leadership. As far as funding is concerned, across all our companies, I think we have the impetus and energy to go out and get those funds. When we want to do something, we end up doing it.
There are a bunch of festivals - MIPCOM, Frames, Goafest, NAB. What we're seeing is that the European festivals have some interesting things going on there, but India gets a very small window in there. Goafest is more about advertising. Even in Frames, there's a lot of cinema being discussed. We felt the lack of a forum for the televsion industry - it's a huge industry but there is no single forum where everybody comes together and talks about ideas, issues and countering those issues. This is a platform for that.
CI: How will the Festival be marketed to bring in sponsors?
PG: We have an agency that's working with us and getting us sponsors. As IBF, we are working with them to make sure our partners, suppliers and we ourselves are putting in enough to make this a success.
CI: Will the committee also try to engage international delegates?
PG: We haven't taken a decision on that yet. We're focussing on getting Indian delegates on board at the moment, and will open it up to international markets if required.
CI: Is there any plan to introduce awards?
PG: Not for this year at least.
CI: Would you be looking at engaging other partners like media agencies, advertisers and creative agencies?
PG: It's a television industry festival, so everybody who is our partner, whether advertiser, supplier, or content provider, should all come together and celebrate. We'd like to engage them in any way we can.
CI: How would you look at making the festival relevant for the young people who attend, besides waiving off the delegate fee for those below 25?
KA: Most of the talks that we are going to have are going to be about matters that affect the industry. One of the things that we've seen is that in our daily working lives, people are quite disengaged from the larger perspective. They are only worried about getting their episodes out on time and getting their segments right. This is a place where they can get to see the larger perspective of the business. Normally, even when we do things in our offices, with deadlines being so tight, nobody gets the time to come and listen to the macro picture. This is a place where we want to create that kind of atmosphere, such as the one where Subhash Chandra will speak about the journey of Indian television, which will be inspirational.
CI: Will you all be making an effort to engage regional players?
KA: Very much so. We want them to come and have pride of place there, they are a huge part of our industry.