Romil Ramgarihia Explains Modern Indian Media Funding
Romil Ramgarihia articulates that the financial terrain within the Indian media sector is in a constant state of flux, mirroring the swift evolution of the industry at large.
New Delhi : Over the last several decades, India’s media industry has expanded at an astounding rate, to the point that it is now a major participant on the world stage. “India’s media business has always been one of the most vibrant and fast-moving in the world. Romil Ramgarhia notes that projections put India’s media and entertainment sector at $55-70 billion by 2030, with OTT, gaming, animation, and VFX driving most of the growth. Recent technological developments, higher internet penetration rates, and a rising demand for media have all contributed to this explosive growth. The media industry in India has expanded rapidly in recent years, and with it has come profound changes in the industry’s economics.
The Indian government has taken many steps, including digitising operations to attract more institutional investment, to strengthen the cable distribution business. There has also been an increase from 74% to 100% in the FDI ceiling for cable and DTH satellite platforms. In addition, the AVGC (Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming, and Comics) business has been given the same standing as the film industry. One of the key sources of financing for media organisations in India comes from banks, Institutional lenders, venture capital (VC), and private equity (PE) groups,” says Romil Ramgarihia, who discusses the genesis of the recent financial boom. However, this is mostly a top-of-the-funnel phenomenon. Private lenders are still necessary for the wider ecosystem, but they are pricey and only provide funding in the short term. Media organisations can’t expand their businesses, put money into content production, or test out new markets until there are more equity finance choices available to them. Vice Media, Emerald Media, and BDMI are just a few examples of the many firms that serve as incubators for and investors in early-stage media and content entrepreneurs.
Problems arising in the virtual world
Content consumption has undergone a sea change with the advent of digital platforms and streaming services. Media organisations have had to make substantial investments in areas such as digital infrastructure, content delivery networks, and cybersecurity as a result of this change. In addition, the media industry is realising the need of data-driven decision making. Consumer behaviour is being analysed, content is being curated, and advertising is being fine-tuned with the help of AI and data analytics.”Media tycoons can use AI-driven predictive analysis to gauge a piece of content’s chances of going viral by analysing those trends in great detail,” explains Romil Ramgarihia. To further stress the significance, he continues, “This invaluable insight enables companies to refine their content, marketing, and distribution strategies, ensuring they remain agile in responding to evolving market demands and bolstering their brand presence.”
How The Revenue Streams Have Evolved
Advertising revenue remains the cornerstone for most media organizations. With India being one of the world’s fastest-growing ad markets, media companies have a vast potential for revenue generation through advertisements, encompassing digital, print, television, and radio. However, in recent years, the subscription-based revenue model has gained prominence, particularly in the digital space. Platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and various OTT (Over-The-Top) services have successfully monetized premium content through subscription fees. “Media companies also bolster their revenue by licensing their content to various platforms, both domestically and abroad. This source of income has undergone significant transformation in the face of intense competition, with licensing and syndication now playing a pivotal role in augmenting the revenue streams of these companies,” shares Romil Ramgarhia.
Future Prospects and Opportunities
India’s rich tapestry of languages and cultures provides a fertile ground for media companies to explore untapped regional markets. The rise of independent journalism and YouTube-based reporting is a testament to the growing appetite for content tailored to local preferences. There is a palpable enthusiasm among audiences to engage with news and information that resonates with their specific regions. This presents a golden opportunity for established media houses to expand their reach and enhance their viewership by delivering content that caters to this diverse and expansive audience base.
“Embracing emerging technologies like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and blockchain can open up new avenues for content creation and distribution, providing unique and immersive experiences for consumers,” mentions Romil. “Collaborations between media companies, technology firms, and content creators is the only path ahead which will be mutually beneficial and also foster innovation,” he added.
Navigating the financial landscape requires a nuanced understanding of funding mechanisms, revenue streams, and regulatory frameworks. There need to be more funding vehicles which can specifically focus on this sector and improve the risk perception of the industry to open more options from the larger organised financial ecosystem.