Uday Shankar’s opening address at FICCI Frames 2019


As the region’s biggest and perhaps oldest media & entertainment convention began in Mumbai on Tuesday the 12th of March, it was ‘opened’ with a keynote address by a media leader who has been respected worldwide as much for his deep acumen and vast experience, as he is for being inspiringly entrepreneurial: Uday Shankar, Vice President FICCI and Chair – Media & Entertainment Division at FICCI, and also, chairman and CEO of Star India and president of 21st Century Fox, Asia, who will lead the India and Asia Pacific business of The Walt Disney Company after the acquisition of 21st Century Fox’ assets.

From someone who has steered India’s biggest broadcasting conglomerate to leadership and success across more than ten of its 25-year presence in and connection with India and Indians, Shankar’s address was worthy of close attention, and it also spelt out his summation of the outlook on the Media & Entertainment industry. And true to his group’s belief in always using the power of media for good, Shankar emphasised upon the need to keep the larger social interest always front and centre. But with a word of caution too. Check out the video above, or read the transcript below to find out what it is.

Only thing – Shankar kept his address rather  brief and just over 3 minutes, but it was a great flag-off for FICCI FRAMES 2019. Unfortunately, we missed the initial part of his address – some seconds — due to a recording glitch.

We’ve put the audio of Shankar’s address on to a still frame to create a basic video so that you may access it anytime. We haven’t put it on an audio-streaming-only app because such apps often demand you download and install them before getting access to their contents. YouTube, thank God, is YouBiquitous!

Uday Shankar’s keynote address at FICCI FRAMES 2019 – transcript

Welcome to FICCI Frames 2019. It is a proud and an emotional moment because this is the 20th anniversary of Frames. Two decades ago when some visionaries decided to create this platform for the media & entertainment community, neither the Indian media nor Frames was what it is today.

These 20 years have been a spectacular roller coaster ride for both. From being a very small and somewhat fragile media & entertainment industry 20 years ago, today it is a source of global ambition and envy and so is FICCI Frames.

Frames was envisioned to be a platform where the media & entertainment community could get together to discuss its issues. Given the scale at which it is today, it would do its visionary founders very proud.

Over time, Frames has become the most meaningful platform for media & entertainment community in this part of the world. Attempts to clone it can at best be described as unrealized ambitions.

My heartiest congratulations to FICCI and team Frames, led by Leena Jaisani, who have been relentless in their passion and their commitment. This would not have been possible without all of you. On behalf of the entire media & entertainment community, I salute you all.

The transformation in the media & entertainment industry in India in the last 20 years has been mind boggling to say the least. It is one of the major media markets in the world now. It is also one of the most exciting media markets anywhere in the world with every major global company trying to give shape to its ambition in India, and with the Indian companies challenging them very vigorously.

So what does the journey ahead look like?

We will hear the views of accomplished experts and practitioners over the next three days. But in my humble opinion, the great Indian media & entertainment story has just begun. We are standing at an inflexion point. We can either sit on our laurels or we can use the winds of change to fill our sails and embark on an even more exciting and glorious journey.

We need to recognize the power of this creative sector in helping realize the national aspirations.

Indian media & entertainment industry is ready to contribute more actively and more substantially than probably any other sector to the national dream of creating jobs, assets and wealth. What’s more is that we are also in a position to be the flag bearers of a brand new India all over the world.

We are already seeing the innovations that are taking place in this country in the domain of Sports, or in Digital, where Indian creativity is being talked about globally and attracting the interest of one and all. However, we need to make sure that our policies are aligned to accelerate creativity and growth. Wherever we find drags, we should be able to step in and align them while making sure that the larger social interest is always at the front and center.

At the same time, we also need to make sure that in the name of social or national interest we do not waste the potential of this industry. That would not just be a disappointment but also very unfair to the world of good that this industry can do to the crores of people of this country who can benefit directly from it.

I shall stop dwelling further on this subject because that is what you are going to hear from a series of illustrious speakers over the next three days.

Before finishing, I would just like to highlight that this has been a very successful year for the FICCI media & entertainment committee. The committee has been instrumental in bringing about some key reforms for the industry, including a downward revision in the GST slab for entertainment services and the tabling of the anti cam-cording provisions under the Cinematograph Act. It marks a very satisfying year for me as the Chairman of the committee and I would like to congratulate all those who have been involved.

With this I would like to call upon Mr. Charles Rivkin, the Chairman  & CEO of Motion Pictures Association of America, to deliver the industry address. 

Your thoughts, please