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James Murdoch speaks at Indian confab

Indian biz should press fast-forward with digitization

News Corp. Europe and Asia CEO James Murdoch has called for the digitization of India’s media infrastructure to unlock the country’s creative potential.

Addressing Frames, the annual media confab in Mumbai on Wednesday, Murdoch said, “With digitization, the Indian industry will finally have the incentives to invest and create. Even more important, Indian customers will have the content and choice worthy of their nation’s rich diversity.”

According to Murdoch, deregulated and market-based digitization would create a content revolution in India. “Viewers deserve choice. In a vast and diverse country like India, no channel can try to be everything to everyone, and yet the prevailing regulatory system forces channels to adopt a uniform, ad-dependant business model,” he said.

Murdoch also said the fact that the vast majority of India’s news channels were inward looking would prevent them being players on the world stage.

Murdoch likened India’s creative sector to a “sleeping tiger” waiting to be awakened and cited “Slumdog Millionaire” and “My Name Is Khan,” both backed by News Corp.-owned Fox, as examples of Indian stories achieving global success.

“If India’s economy had a creative sector on the scale, relative to overall gross domestic product of Britain’s, for example, instead of a $15 billion industry we would be talking about a $120 billion industry,” Murdoch said.