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India’s media industry is a ‘sleeping tiger’ — Murdoch

On Wednesday News Corp executive James Murdoch referred to India’s media industry as a “sleeping tiger” following a report forecast the sector would double its revenues to nearly US$30-billion by 2015.

“India’s creative force is still a sleeping tiger waiting to be awakened,” said Murdoch, News Corp’s European and Asian operations chief, while describing global media firms as “grey and tired”.

“The impressive achievements of the last two decades have not even begun to fulfil the potential of this great land,” added the son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

Murdoch’s comments to a media conference in Mumbai came as a report by consultancy firm KPMG said India’s media and entertainment industry grew 11 percent in 2010 to post revenues of US$14.54-billion.

The report forecast that the industry would grow by 14 percent annually to achieve revenues of US$28.3-billion by 2015.

India’s media industry has bounced back from the global financial downturn but experts say foreign investment in radio, direct-to-home (DTH) and print media companies is relatively low, compared to developed countries.

The print media sector has defied a global downward trend to grow by 10 percent in 2010 and is likely to continue to expand at a similar pace over the next five years, the report added.

However, Murdoch told the conference that “India’s US$15-billion media industry should have been US$120-odd billion — given its creative human talent and historical depth”.

He urged India’s media to focus more on digitisation so that Indian industry has the incentive to invest and give consumers greater content and choice.

India has around 120-million TV households but there are only about 30-million homes which have digital channels, he noted, highlighting the need for the country to focus more on creating digital infrastructure.

Digital systems have the capacity to deliver many more channels to the consumers than analogue cable.

Rupert Murdoch-owned News Corp’s local media firm, Star India, beams programmes through 32 channels to over 168-million people each week across India and over 65 countries worldwide. — AFP