Entertainment is recession proof, say experts

New Delhi, Nov 17 (IANS) The global economic meltdown will not impact the entertainment industry, those associated with the sector say.

“Entertainment is recession-proof. It does well both in good and bad times," Rajjat A. Barjatya, managing director of production house Rajshri Media, told IANS during Focus 2008, the two-day second annual global entertainment and media summit that began here Monday.

"In fact, there has been an increase in the content consumption during the slowdown, as people want to come out of the economic trauma and turn to entertainment as an escape from reality. Films are escapist and aspiring and that makes them recession-proof.” he said.

Barjatya, however, conceded revenues had taken a hit. "Business-wise, we have seen a drop in our advertisements revenue but not on the content consumption,” he said.

Added Michael C. Ellis, president and managing director of the Motion Picture Association's Asia Pacific region: “People want to be entertained and despite the meltdown, studios across the world are going to churn out movies for the audience. It is one medium that is cheap and easily accessible and one-stop shop for viewers to escape from their shock of the meltdown. It never suffers."

Citing an example, Ellis said the latest James Bond film, 'Quantum of Solace', broke records over the first weekend in the UK, while 'The Dark Knight' fetched close to $1 billion worldwide.

However, Sandeep Marwah, president of media training institute Asian Academy of Film and Television, believes "there has to be some obvious cost-cutting".

"But the profits won't get affected and in fact will be up. Whatever may be the situation, people will turn to the medium as a breather," he said. “To talk about the Indian entertainment industry, it is going to double itself by 2012 and will touch the Rs.100,000 crore (Rs.1 trillion) mark business-wise.”

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