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2020: The Great Indian Balancing Act
Megha Tata, Managing Director, South Asia, Discovery Communications IndiaDiscovery Communications
Here is how the Media & Entertainment industry fared during the tumultuous 2020
media

2020: The Great Indian Balancing Act

Here is how the Media & Entertainment industry fared during the tumultuous 2020
  • 2020 has almost come to an end, and what a year it has been!
  • As we enter 2021, Megha Tata, Managing Director – South Asia, Discovery Communications takes a look at the year gone by and how the Media & Entertainment industry has managed to keep its balance during a tumultuous year.
As the year comes to an end, business leaders will engage in crystal gazing to try and predict trends for 2021. While it is important to try and predict trends so one can be prepared for what’s to come, if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s this: No matter how well you plan for the future, sometimes, the future has something else planned for you! All you can do, is roll with the punches.

And that is exactly what 2020 felt like. As a company, as an industry we have had to deal with one unplanned event after another. We have had to recalibrate every move, every plan and in some cases, evolve faster than we ever imagined we could. So, before we jump into predicting the future, I believe it would do us well to sit back and take a look at the year gone by and how we as the Media & Entertainment industry have managed to keep our balance.

The Media & Entertainment industry has been in a state of evolution for the last few years. As someone who has been in the industry for over 30 years, the one thing I have noticed time and again, is that every time a new platform, a new medium emerges, media pundits pronounce the death of the previous one. The reality, however, is very different. The fact is that all mediums have stayed strong and are growing, whether it’s print, radio, television and now digital. What we have learnt, and especially over the last one year, is that the Indian Media & Entertainment industry does not need to be an either/ or industry. We can be an AND industry where every medium can have a
piece of the pie.

We’re living in a world where the rules of the game are changing continuously. There are countries where television has ceased to exist, but India is different. We’ve bucked the trend here. In India, TV has shown a huge amount of growth, even during the pandemic. And interestingly, at the same time, the OTT sector has also grown by leaps and bounds! It’s time we understand that in a country like India where the appetite for content is massive, both linear and digital need to co-exist.

Our launch of discovery+ right in the beginning of the lockdown is a true testament of the fact that if there is good content, the audience will come for it. So, the question for broadcasters like us who also have a digital play really is how does one perform this balancing act?

We have to protect our business which funds the digital business as the digital business is yet to become profitable. TV has to play a key role in that. For us, both are as important: one is the business of today and one is the business of tomorrow that how you balance the today and tomorrow is a question we ask every day.

The core of any platform is content: that, in my view, is the starting point. How you optimize and monetize the content is the integral part of anybody’s decision-making process. The way we look at it is that there’s a short-term and a long term view every organization has. So do we, here at Discovery. The ownership of content and the ownership of customer are the two key pillars of a long-term strategy and in that analysis and data will play an integral role in arriving at a monetisation proposition which makes a digital business a viable, sustainable business.

But what should the business leader do until then? The show must go on and for that we need to keep this intricate balance between linear and digital to ensure we make the best of both worlds!