National Film Development Corporation Plans to Back Film Productions Again, Launch Its Own Streaming Service

The Government Enterprise has backed films such as Gandhi and Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron

National Film Development Corporation Plans to Back Film Productions Again, Launch Its Own Streaming Service

Photo Credit: Twitter/ @iameshansharma

A still from the film 'Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron'

  • Govt has undertaken a Rs. 500-crore project to preserve film heritage
  • They will launch a scheme which will allow people to fund restoration
  • The government is likely to amend the Cinematograph Act

The National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) has been 'left behind' in the last few years, but it will restart backing projects and have its own OTT service, a senior government official said on Wednesday. The corporation, which has backed films like 'Gandhi' and 'Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron', will also have an over-the-top (OTT) service similar to Netflix where one can watch its films, Information and Broadcasting Secretary Apurva Chandra said. "NFDC, we feel, has been left behind now for the past 8-10 years. We need to come back again, we need to give support to young filmmakers, who don't get access otherwise in the market and also come up with an OTT of NFDC," Chandra said, speaking at the annual Ficci Frames event here.

The OTT service will help those living in areas not having the option of watching a movie in a theatre to enjoy the content, Chandra said. He said the government, which has undertaken a Rs 500-crore project to preserve the country's film heritage, will also soon launch a scheme under which film aficionados can fund to restore a film of their choice. The senior official from the ministry said work on the heritage project is already underway in Pune, but the government is constrained by resources to preserve the films and short films.

The government is likely to table an amendment to the Cinematograph Act in the monsoon session, which will authorise it to act against platforms distributing pirated content, Chandra said. Given the high potential of the animation and gaming sector, the government is also looking at ways to start importing skills on this front from the school years itself so that the right talent can be honed, he said.

The official also said that a national centre of excellence coming up on a 20-acre plot in Mumbai's film city will be inaugurated next year. The Maharashtra cadre officer, however, said that he is 'disappointed' with the condition of the film city and rued that nothing has changed in the campus over the last 35 years from an infrastructure perspective.

The ministry is all for 'a soft touch approach' on the critical issue of regulating content, and would want the OTT industry to adopt self-regulation, Chandra said, adding that there are 'murmurs' of foul language being used. Meanwhile, consultancy firm EY states that the media and entertainment sector is worth over Rs 3,00,000 crore right now, if one were to include the estimated Rs 90,000 crore that users pay to avail data services utilised for streaming.

The Rs 2.10 lakh-crore media and entertainment sector (excluding the data costs) is set to grow at over 10 percent annually to reach Rs 2.83 lakh crore by 2025. The sector has already surpassed the pre-Covid levels and is 10 per cent higher than the levels seen before the pandemic, EY states.

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