V. CONTENT CREATION AND CONTENT INDUSTRY
The Working Group on Content Creation and Content Industry has identified the following investment opportunities :
1. Till early 90s Content Production and Content packaging mostly dealt with printing industry. The 90s are the beginning of convergence of printing media, telecommunication and computers leading to content industry. Content has become the core of this convergence.
2. This led to a number of new services such as
7. This new shift leads to several new conclusions:
8. The content industry needs a satisfactory technical solution in the area of
9. Capacity and availability of the internet access is very essential for the development of commercial viable business application. There is a need to create a competitive conditions to ensure the development of the internet infrastructure.
10. The partners and developers has to note that the users on internet doubles every 12 months while the traffic doubles every 6 months.
11. The development of content industry is driven both by content as well as technology. The competition in the content layer will increase. The content and infrastructure layers are permeable.
12. In this content industry, there is a need for strategic cooperation and outsourcing. We will see a variety of small industrial entities focusing on specific aspects of the creation process.
13. The New Media user behavior significantly different form the traditional user behavior. It combines active and passive forums of use and implies in convergence of reading and looking activity. The multimedia services allow the user a combination of different reception modes in a hitherto unknown way. The multimedia requires great audience involvement than traditional media.
14. The new media creation requires a combination of publishing skills ( traditional skills of printing media) and programmable skills (skills of broadcasting companies).
15. The new electronically delivered content and services are the main drivers of the transformation towards information society. These information services are generating growth, competition and employment. This in turn enables professional, socio and cultural acceptance of advanced information service for business, administration and citizens.
B. In addition, NASSCOM has identified the following opportunities for the creation and export of multimedia content :
1. Indian software industry has been one of the catalysts in promoting multimedia and related services in India. Indian software companies have a comprehensive pool of varied skills for multimedia development and bring with them strong expertise on various systems as well as applications software. The initiatives range from products, services to establishing multimedia infrastructure. The expertise ranges from multimedia authoring, multimedia databases, multimedia based campus-wide networks, user interfaces, to new media publishing. The segments include business systems, education, CBT (Computer Based Training), R & D (Research & Development) and databases. It has helped to proliferate content and multimedia services business from India in domestic industry and overseas. In the year 1998-99, out of the estimated software exports of US $ 2.65 billion, nearly US $ 105 million worth of exports can be expected to be constituted by multimedia; related products and services; as well as software exports incorporating multimedia features. Multimedia software development services has an estimated potential of earning nearly US $ 500 million out of projected Us $ 4 billion in software exports in the year 2000. Indian software industry has already carved a niche for itself in servicing major global media houses with services in special effects and designing customised platform. In view of this, Government should identify Creation & Export of Multimedia Content as a priority industry and allow multimedia communication over Internet, Intranet and extranet without any restrictions.
2. The wave of spread of information technology and resulting availability of new media throw up a number of myriad opportunity areas for Indian software and hi-tech sector. These opportunities relate to technology and content. As part of a study conducted by Nasscom, some of the opportunity areas that have been identified are:
Strategic Alliances with leading media houses globally to offer digitised content development and maintenance services: Increasingly, motion picture and other media industry are turning to digital content creation to lower costs and expertise production. India has already proven its expertise in this area. Recently, some of the Indian projects were also nominated for international awards. Such alliances would help companies in India to join the global league, establish world class expertise and improve brand equity. Further, it is a source of high premium and steady revenues.
Some of the recent initiatives of Government of India are:
C. Policy Recommendations of the working group on Content Creation and Content Industry are the following :
1. In early nineties, the activity of content creation and content packaging was mainly confined to the printing and publishing industry. The textual and statistical databases formed only a small component of it. The mid nineties saw the beginning of convergence of print medium, databases and telecommunication leading to the advent of the electronic content industry. Electronic Content has become a core of this convergence and the content industry has come to mean various commercial and non-commercial activities relating to the bibliographic, textual and statistical databases as well as the information, education and entertainment materials in the electronic form including audio, video and multimedia forms.
2. Considering the vast global and domestic market, the Working Group recognises that the content industry has a potential to grow as big or even bigger than the computer software industry with enormous opportunities for income and employment generation. The Working Group recommends that since content development is an integral part of any information system, the Government should recognise the content industry as a priority sector for lending and give it the same treatment for purposes of promotion and development as given to the infrastructure sector.
3. The Government and its associated organisations are the largest producers of socio-economic information. India has one of the biggest statistical systems known in the world. The Working Group recognises that there is a need to rationalise these vast databases, by using standardised formats and retrieval mechanisms and make them easily available on line to the planners, scholars and other users.
4. All non-classified or declassified information in the possessions of the government agencies should be made available to the content industry on non-exclusive basis. The government should work out suitable terms and modalities for this purpose for easy availability of such information.
5. The government should fund and sponsor research on various aspects of content development, including related software and market studies and develop a short term as well as a long term vision and growth strategy for the sector. Detailed research studies should be undertaken to identify specific areas for content creation and its marketing at regional, national and international levels.
6. For the information generated or collected through its various agencies, the Government should evolve policy guidelines and a set of standards to classify or declassify the information at the point of origin or compilation. In the case of classified information, the period of classified status should be specified at the point of origin or compilation itself so as to facilitate automatic declassification of such information on expiry of the specified period.
7. All the reports generated out of the R & D works funded by the government and its agencies should be made available for wider dissemination and commercial exploitation. The government should ensure establishment of a suitable mechanism for collection, compilation and timely publication(hosting) of such information in the electronic form.
8. It should be made mandatory for all the universities or deemed universities in the country to send atleast one copy of all the theses and dissertations submitted by their students and researchers, in electronic form to the UGC or any other appropriate agency which may be identified by the Government.
9. Any information or report collected by the government should invariably, be in electronic form. The government should set up appropriate systems to ensure that all the information to be received by it are collected in the electronic form at the entry point itself.
10. Similarly, all the information to be made available to the public by the government, such as budget documents, customs and excise rules, railway time tables, telephone directory, maps including public domain digitised maps, etc. should be made available in the electronic form.
11. The national, regional and other public libraries need to develop databases of their holdings which should be mounted on internet and other networks for free access to users. Funds should be specifically earmarked for this purpose by the respective organisations. The software developed for the purpose should be freely distributed for use by other libraries.
12. The Government in association with the industry should evolve appropriate guidelines, codes and systems to ensure that materials unsuitable, illegal or not conducive to national security are not put on the websites.
13. The Indian language based systems are crucial for the growth of content industry and promotion of economic well-being of the people. All Government funded software tools developed, for handling information in Indian languages, should be actively promoted for widespread use and made available free.
14. India is known for its rich and diverse cultural heritage. It also possess a vast wealth of traditional knowledge. These are mostly in Indian languages and should be promoted and preserved for posterity. The Government should, therefore, take initiatives, through appropriate projects, to create electronic images of the information on the Indian arts and culture, for wider dissemination.
15. Indian language software and content should conform to the BIS standard IS 13194:96 for ISCII code and enscript keyboard.
16. An effective Copy Right protection systems is a prerequisite for development of creative works. Therefore, the Indian copyright law should be strengthened and not undermined. Further, there is a need for global harmonisation of copyright laws. The conclusion of the TRIPSs ( Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights ) agreement and of the two WIPO (World Intellectual Proprietary Organisation) treaties, represent the right steps towards such harmonisation.
17. There is a need to develop a domain name registration system in a manner that allows robust and open competition and facilitates management of Internet names and addresses in India following the best practices available elsewhere in the world.
18. There is a need to promote and encourage hosting of non-commercial materials related to linguistic, social and cultural aspects of the people by the public or private organisations. The Government should take initiative for providing web sites, free of cost for such purposes, at least, in the initial periods.
19. Government should encourage and promote Indian companies to host their contents on web servers located in India and these should be available at internationally competitive price. Any information hosted on these sites should follow the guidelines evolved by the Government in association with the Industry.
20. Inter-operability is the key word. Standards make it possible to integrate hardware, software and communication systems and to exchange information across boundaries of different systems. Appropriate standards should, therefore, be adopted to achieve compatibility and, therefore, inter-operability among equipment, data, practices and procedures so that information can be accessed easily and universally by any one.
21. There is a need for substantial modification and updating of traditional curriculum being offered by the universities and educational institutions in various fields related to content industry, such as library science, journalism, mass communication, to name a few, so that the end products match the IT revolution taking place around us.
22. Looking at the global scenario there is a great potential for knowledge bases. Creation of knowledge bases requires trained man-power for collection, compilation, analysis and production of value added information products and services. Specialized training programmes, through existing institutions, should be initiated to meet the requirement of trained professionals in these areas.
23. Multimedia and Internet are the foundations of the future content industry. Creation of multimedia products require specialists in multimedia designing, editing, programming etc. Training programmes for these core professionals in multimedia, need to be initiated in it is and Polytechnics and other relevant institutions.
24. The World Wide Web (WWW) provides excellent opportunities for students and other interested individuals to get good exposure to different scientific and technological developments and cultural and artistic experiences. These exposures and experiences can be a rich supplement to traditional course materials. Towards this end, every educational/professional institution should have the Internet access facility. Funding or co-ordinating agencies like UGC, AICTE, etc., should ensure Internet facility at every institution under their purview.
25. For increasing the share of India in international content business, data communication costs need to be reduced to globally competitive levels and Internet access infrastructure to be greatly augmented.
26. For providing global exposure to Indian content industry, the Government should project this industry through India pavilion in key industrial events like London Online. The government should, initially, sponsor such exposures through recognised Indian industry associations.
27. The banking and financial institutions should recognise content development activity as an industry for providing venture capital and develop appropriate norms for financing this industry. A special venture capital fund may be created exclusively for electronic content industry.
28. Suitable amendments should be made to all the existing acts and rules of the Government to recognise and treat the content in all forms(text, graphics, audio, video, visual, full motion, multimedia etc.) and all mediums (print, microfilm, optical, magnetic, Internet-based, etc.) alike for all statutory compliance and taxation purposes.
29. Content based products for education and R&D should be made totally tax-free for all segments of the society.
30. Content creation industry should be exempted from excise duty as currently given to the publishing industry.
31. The income from all content based export activities such as data processing, conversion, editing, abstracting and indexing, off-shore database maintenance and updating etc., should be totally exempted from Income Tax.
32. To make the Indian content industry globally competitive, the royalty terms for licensing the copyrighted contents and the software provided by the global information providers and publishers, should be allowed to be determined by the market forces. RBI guidelines, in this regard should be amended suitably so as to remove the present royalty restrictions of 15% for data ( publishing) and 30% for software.
33. A pilot project on digital library development, based on indigenous software, should be initiated. The project should be time-bound and implemented at one of the libraries to serve as a model. The software so developed can be distributed to other organisations to accelerate the development of digital libraries in the country.
34. Virtual libraries provide very exhaustive and instant access to information for individual users through information networks. To promote such access, the Government should initiate a pilot project for creation of a virtual library. This virtual library should contain bibliographic information with abstracts and selectively full texts of books and periodicals. Institutions or individuals can obtain copies of publications from this virtual library either on payments or gratis. The virtual library can work out suitable copyright arrangements with the relevant publishers for providing the service.
35. Virtual class rooms may also be created with course materials generated by the IITs or other reputed institutions or organisations. This will greatly help the students located at far away places and will go a long way in meeting the shortage of good teachers in the remote areas. Initiative should also be taken to generate such virtual class rooms for primary education also.
In order to give a strong boost to this industry for realising its export and domestic potential, a number of steps need to be taken. Nasscom has identified the following that need to be taken in this direction:
36. NICE: A National Internet Centre of Excellence (NICE), should be established to promote standards, assist digital content development in India, devise standards for content building and delivery, and research new technologies.
37. IPR: Intellectual Property Rights is an important aspect for digital content development. World Trade Organisation (WTO) has already enacted WIPO Copyright Treaty and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty. Indian Copyright Act also has most of provisions contained in these treaties. Further, the Information Technology Act contains a number of provisions that would help to make Indian copyright guidelines a comprehensive framework.
38. Localisation of content is one of the most important task. There is an urgent need to quickly devise standards and scripts for development of content in Indian languages. These standards should be in conformity with international standards.
39. National Digital Media Library: Establish a National Digital Media Library (NDML), nucleated by Nasscom. It would be a central knowledgebase of government records, industry information and would also contain contributions from private sector.
40. Games constitute one of the largest segment of digital content through such media as video games, TV Games, etc. Moreover, it would continue to command a large share of global digital media market for the next 3-4 years. Appropriate promotion needs to be undertaken to boost games software exports from India.