UK authorities promise 10 films this year

Our Bureau

Mumbai, March 23

In a sign of co-productions gaining acceptance, industry major Viacom said it would look at co-producing films here while the UK authorities promised 10 films in the very first year of the Indo-UK co-production treaty.

Closer to the retail end of entertainment, the need for an addressable system in the country's broadcast sector was yet again emphasised as a senior Information and Broadcasting Ministry official, urged involved stakeholders to take the conditional access system (CAS) forward.

"One of our most immediate concerns is CAS," Mr S.K. Arora, Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Ministry, told delegates to the three-day convention on media and entertainment, FICCI Frames 2006, here today.

Mr Priya Ranjan Das Munshi, I&B Minister, did not attend the inaugural session. The I&B Ministry has initiated the process to put in place CAS in the metros as ordered by the Delhi High Court in a recent judgment. Mr Arora pointed out that in the broadcast industry, growth preceded the setting up of a regulatory system.

The Ministry has also constituted a committee to work on content regulation for the broadcast sector. FICCI has drawn up a draft legislation that included a code and set of regulations for content.

"At the Ministry, we are in favour of self-regulation. The regulator will step in only when this fails," Mr Arora said.

He also pointed to TRAI's recommendation that there should be separate regulators for content and carriage.

Even as there was constant reference about infusing investments into the entertainment industry here and driving its growth outside India, Mr Arora said the industry needed to grow at home too. "There is no doubt that we need to go global but there is as much need to grow in India. Indian broadcasters have yet to cover the country fully."

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 24, 2006)
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