IT Taskforce
Basic Background Report

 

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

  • governance online

  • Online financial transaction

  • Chatline

  • Discussion forums- moderated and unmoderated

  • New advertisement opportunity

  1. The new content industry is based on digital services. Historically speaking in the telecom industry- network service operators contribute 80% of the value of the industry and 20% by the equipment vendors; in the traditional printing and publishing market 10% of the value is for the creation, 30% is for the content packaging, 40% printing and 20% distribution; while online-digital service, the content creator contributes 20% and the content organisor share is more than 30%, the delivery of the service providers viz., the service operators distribution is less than 20%, the value addition by the network operator is less than 20% and the equipment content is less than 10%.

  2. The content industry is growing at a very fast pace. This includes the printing and publishing media, television media and the information communication technology.

  3. In this new digital industry, content is the key driver and the most important asset. The word content expands to mean information and communication to transaction services.

  4. There has been several paradigm shifts with the growth of the global interaction and electronic publishing industry.

7. This new shift leads to several new conclusions:

  1. new skills of information processing and technology become a core competence
    with need to be developed

  2. content engineering has a core competence to the digital media engineering

  3. information technology’s skills for content creation and content deliver

  4. content industry will be demand driven and not technology driven

  5. user is the ultimate decider in the service and he has to be encouraged

8.    The content industry needs a satisfactory technical solution in the area of

  • media integration

  • secure transaction system

  • user friendly and user device – interfaces

  • faster network access at affordable prices

  • broadband capacities

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:

  • Smart Packs: The phone, TV and PC will not satisfy evolving consumer needs for communication, entertainment, and information. Instead, smart packs-bundles of intelligent devices, personalized connections, and digital content- will emerge over the next five years to give consumers what they want. To take this step further, companies may develop customisable smart packs, that are available off the shelf but are configurable as per customers’ needs.

    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.

    • Indian movies: India enjoys a firm foothold in the worldwide movie industry, churning out the largest number of movies. The industry has large intellectual and creative talent pool. This presents one of the largest opportunity for Indian content developers.

    • Music: There is growing appreciation and market for Indian music of various forms. Indian content developers as well as music companies should consider tapping the large export potential.

    • Local Content/Web Design : Internet and PC proliferation has been slow to take off in India primarily because of lack of local content. Developers should actively consider these markets and recognise specific niches for providing local content.

    • Digital Infrastructure: Indian companies can offer services to overseas companies to establish their new media infrastructure and their management. At the same time, companies are looking at outsourcing these services due to cost and other considerations. Companies in India can offer to establish offshore services infrastructure, such as video servers centre, so that customers / viewers in other countries can access various content through high speed telecom links.

    • Translating popular content into local languages: The viewing habits around the world are increasingly taking on an international perspective. As a result, viewers may like to view content developed for other languages. Companies in India may provide language translation services. This is especially significant as a large part of global broadcast content is developed in English or European languages. Although, some of these languages are considered as fairly global, still, many communities around the world may prefer content in local languages. Such knowledge areas can also be used for community specific database, entertainment or knowledge diffusion services.

    • Indian content in foreign languages: Indian films and other forms of content are starting to attract quality audiences in large numbers. There is a large market to be tapped in USA, UK, other parts of Europe, West Asia and Australia to offer Indian content in their own local languages. As a case in point, some of the Indian movies released recently were also dubbed in English. They have grossed more than expected revenues.

    • Low cost set-top boxes: Set top boxes could be holding key for communication, IT and entertainment companies to gain access to ‘eyeballs and ears’ at home. However, their offtake till now has been poor because of high conversion costs and non-compatible transmission technology. Companies that can develop technology to produce set top boxes that can work on existing copper / coaxial networks, offer sophisticated compression technology, allow ease of use and available at low cost can stand to exploit an emerging US $ 18 billion market.

    • Design technologies for establishing a generic but local language interfaces.

    • Technologies for Creation of tools for digital content development and maintenance.

    • Home networking devices that are able to offer intuitive and interactive interfaces for various home gadgets. The mode of commercialisation may include co-branding of technology or licensing to other manufacturers with high market penetration.

    • Software modules for delivery of multimedia information on mobile devices: Many mobile devices do not carry multimedia capability. Modules that allow upgradation with low cost software and hardware modules at low cost can achieve large installation base.

    • Interactive Kiosks

    • Electronic commerce services through personal devices: Allowing retail shopping, banking or other commerce services through devices such as interactive television or a palmtop PC would proliferate.

    • Cross holdings by media companies and on-line services companies

    • Consolidation in media industry

    • Alliances, mergers or acquisitions between telecom and cable network companies

    • Initiatives on the part of governments globally, to facilitate delivery of public services through interactive facilities such as info-kiosks. This is part of their plans to improve efficiency and transparency.

    • Proliferation of mobile and palmtop devices.

    • Increasing digitisation of broadcast content

    • Increasing processing power and bandwidth at lowering costs

    • Availability of improved compression and encryption technologies

    • Mobile nature of professionals wanting access to such services

    • Broadband and ADSL technologies

    • Personal technology is the next frontier of global technology industry and societal changes

    • Users seeking convenience and bundling of services, even at a slight premium.

    • Need for complementary digital services even while retaining loyalty to conventional services.

    Some of the recent initiatives of Government of India are:

    • Internet access through cable TV allowed: This provision is clearly a cornerstone of facilitating delivery of converged media in India. It is heartening that industry has taken great encouragement from this and has already run pilot runs on cable TV networks for delivering internet and broadcast services. With nearly 37 million cable TV connections, with an average four users per connections, it forms the second largest national cable TV population around the world. This strength can help India take a quantum leap and spearhead the global revolution of standards and successful cases.

    • Establishing a string of info kiosks with multimedia capability spread across the country. This is yet another important initiative to convert existing PCOs to intelligent info-kiosks. With an existing PCO booth population of about 6,00,000, this is expected to lead to delivery of digital services to rural areas too.

    • Mega web sites will be created on internet for promoting marketing and encouraging Indian software products and packages under multiple initiatives.

    • Creation and hosting of web sites on servers located in India to be encouraged.

    • Under ‘Operation knowledge’ for ‘IT for all by 2008’, training facilities will be set up for content creation.

    • Encouragement for setting up value added network services where people can access various services such as ATMs, bill payment, internet, etc. through smart cards. Such an announcement is an indicator of appreciation of Government of India of emergence of new industries and that convergence would hold the key to competitiveness.

    • Such other projects to set up digital libraries are to be replicated across the country, especially at district and village level. This would expose rural people to benefits and uses of IT, while ensuring their participation.

    • Computer and internet shall be made accessible to all secondary schools, polytechnics, colleges and public hospitals in the country by the year 2003.

    • Government resolve to encourage local content that can be accessed with tools with local language interfaces.

    • Recently, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has also announced that it would be soon coming out with a comprehensive communications policy that would suitably address the "convergence of media".

    • Government of India has recognised multimedia as one of the key vehicles for effective, faster and more efficient information dissemination and productivity enhancement. The sheer paper and information turnover coupled with the expanse of the users has prompted government departments to opt for multimedia publishing. This approach has been successfully deployed by the departments in law, telecom, health, commerce and finance sectors. Government is setting up interactive multimedia kiosks in the key ministries to disseminate latest information and invite queries. State of Andhra Pradesh is taking lead in this direction.

    • Another factor that has helped to popularise multimedia in India; created its awareness of its benefits and brought to larger visibility, is CD-ROMs. They are being utilised and promoted by government and industry alike, as one of the better alternatives to paper trails. Many government departments are experimenting with publishing regular information turnouts, policy and procedure compendiums and publicity material on the CD-ROMs.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

    1. The following are additional recommendations of NASSCOM regarding
      Content Creations & export of multimedia :

    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.

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