Sumit Ghosh, CEO and Co-Founder, Chingari

The Indian media and entertainment industry is one of the fastest growing media industries in the world. Its growth has been largely driven by increasing digitalisation and high internet usage over the past decade. The rapid evolution of technology has transformed media and entertainment into an experience-led industry. All in all, the sector is on a growth trajectory and is presenting stakeholders with a plethora of opportunities. Industry players share their views on how new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), AR/VR and metaverse are transforming the media and entertainment space in India, their deployment status and the way forward…

What are the digital trends shaping the media and entertainment industry? What are the various ICT solutions being deployed by enterprises in the sector?

The pandemic has changed how content is consumed with people spending more time watching online entertainment. Peo­ple are now demanding customised content and media services, that too on their preferred device. AI is making it possible to provide customised content to users. It will continue to play a larger part in the media industry’s transformation. In this in­dustry, the three most important functions will be recommendation, voice re­co­g­nition and media automation.

With the help of AI, users are recommended content based on their preference and browsing history and more efforts are being taken to provide accurate recommended content to the users. For instance, with more than 200 million videos being watched daily on Chingari, its advanced AI serves customised feeds to the users and a smooth experience is provided in terms of video uploads to video delivery.

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) continue to be one of the fa­stest growing segments in the media and entertainment industry. Now, consumers not only want to view the content, but also have a sense of participation. The ri­sing desire for live, immersive, shared experiences is defining and propelling the next era of distinction in entertainment and media.

Further, the metaverse holds endless possibilities for the entertainment industry. The metaverse will provide interesting opportunities to become a virtual content creator or a member of a like-minded te­am of passionate producers that organise metaverse events for the entertainment of others. As it removes constraints from the actual world, the metaverse is the perfect platform for the entertainment business. Digital streaming technologies, cloud services, software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) and networking that simplify administration while linking faraway sites using low-cost virtual private network (VPN)-protected internet connectivity are some of the ICT solutions being deployed by the sector.

What has been the sector’s response to newage technologies such as AI, ML, IoT and AR/VR?

The sector has been receptive to new-age technologies with the majority of businesses investing in AI and other leading technologies. Besides, companies are ad­op­ting the technology as it is directly benefiting them in getting new customers on the platform. The new-age tech is becoming an integral part of the business because of its cost-to-benefit ratio.

How will the rising adoption of metaverse impact the way content is produced, aggregated, distributed and consumed in the media and entertainment sector?

The metaverse will change the experience of attending actual tours by allowing people to participate in virtual performances of their favourite artists without having to go to real-world venues. The metaverse is helping monetise material, photos, art, and enor­mo­us amounts of content ranging from fil­ms to other sorts of entertainment. The industry is increasingly embracing technology to establish a metaverse in or­der to ge­nerate digital collectables that will provide superior experiences to customers worldwide. The metaverse will also expand the possibilities for immersive storytelling and enhan­ce the experience of 3D and 4D cinemas.

What, according to you, could be the possible impediments hampering technology adoption in the sector?

High production costs, adaptation challenges and lack of penetration of high-speed internet are some of the challenges faced by the industry. For example, VR requires 5G connectivity to provide a seamless experience. There are also concerns regarding data privacy. Moreover, the challenges faced by start-ups and sm­all-scale enterprises to access finances are making it difficult for them to purchase heavy, high-end hardware to provide a via­ble alternative to services offered by industry heavyweights.

Going forward, what are the three key technology trends to watch out for in the media and entertainment sector?

  • Blockchain and rise of NFTs: Artists are turning to blockchain-backed non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for the protection of their one-of-a-kind stuff. The author feels secure since nothing on the digital ledger can be replicated and the buyer is aware that it is unique in nature, thereby making NFT a prized possession. Following the trend, Chingari will soon launch a virtual NFT (vNFT) marketplace that will allow participants to trade vNFTs and receive a shared revenue from creator engagements.
  • Growth of the creator economy: As the world progresses toward Web 3.0, new social media platforms that are more accessible and focused on engaging the audience on a more personal level are expected to develop in the future. We at Chingari have taken a significant step by offering GARI crypto tokens to users and creators for in-app activities such as uploading, liking and sharing content th­rough the GARI Mining program. This makes Chingari the first social app in the world to do so. Until recently, content pro­ducers monetised their work largely through sponsorship and premium subscriptions but with the rise of the creator economy, content creators will be able to get revenue on a shared basis.
  • Cloud services: Cloud gaming has attracted many tech giants. Gamers with device or hardware constraints may also enjoy and play the same titles with re­du­ced latency over the cloud. Besides, de­velopers, publishers and platforms will make more money as their reach and monetisation possibilities expand. Cloud gaming is the future, but it will not be a complete or rapid shift. Hard­core ga­mers continue to prefer gaming consoles because they value latency and the entire gaming experience.