Braving rains to attend heavy duty panel discussion on Live Streaming at SPICE

Against all odds, on June 28, which was the start of a five –day stretch of heavy rain for Mumbai, more than 200 people came to the Alberione Hall to watch and listen as experts talked about “Paradigms in Digital Video Content: Streaming it Right”.

Nor were they disappointed, evidenced by the fact that most of the audience stayed from 5 pm to 8 pm, absorbing comments, opinions, observations and straight talk on subjects ranging from digital innovation and artificial intelligence, to how technology is set to disrupt and impact the way we live, work, access information and consume goods, services and entertainment in the city.

Arranged by the Observer Research Foundation, a policy think tank, as part of its Mumbai Tech Talk series,  and hosted by St Pauls Institute of Communication Education, the evening saw senior players, including David Hyman of Netflix, talking about the future of entertainment in a digitized world. The question that most focused upon was how to get Indians to pay for entertainment when all along they have been used to getting content practically for free!

Also of considerable interest was the keynote speech delivered by Shashi Shekhar Vempatti, CEO, Prasar Bharti, who held forth on how the government Information and Broadcasting ministry was trying to stay relevant by using all its resources as smartly as possible. Efforts are afoot to ensure that bandwidth reaches the remotest regions in the country to give people access to information that aims at smoothing out social, economic and developmental equalities.

Additionally, there were panel discussions engaging the audience with a discussion on which new models of monetisation are emerging with video streaming, whether telco tie-ups for bundling are the only viable model for monetisation of content right now, how acceptable would viewers find pay-per-view in India, and whether earlier access to content could help in monetization.

Representatives from Hungama, Gracenote, Eros Digital, Viacom 18 etc, kept the discussion  both alive and lively.

The second panel, on Building viewership in a glocalised (global and local) world, was even more interesting, discussion piracy as well as ways to strengthen India’s ecosystem for cultural and creative digital content. This panel had people from Vodafone Idea, MX Player, Dashami Creations, Newslaundry and Zee5.