The government has sought public comments on the draft policy on the national Animation, Visual Effects, Games, Comic and Extended Reality (AVGC).
The deadline for submitting the comments is February 10, 2023. The AVGC policy was unveiuled by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting recently.
According to an official statement put out by the government, the AVGC sector in India has witnessed unprecedented growth rates in recent times, with many global players entering the Indian talent pool to avail offshore delivery of services and also by the domestic demand of AVGC content.
India today contributes about $2.5-3 billion out of the estimated $260-275 billion worldwide AVGC market. India is emerging as a primary destination for high-end, skill-based activities in the AVGC sector. As per the experts within the M&E Industry, the AVGC sector can witness a growth of 14-16 percent in the next decade.
Currently, there are 1.85 lakh professionals employed in the AVGC sector, with another 30,000 who are indirectly employed. The sector would employ approximately another 20-lakh individuals by 2030 to sustain its growth. The skills required for the AVGC professionals is a mix of technology knowhow with fine arts ability.
With the momentum that the AVGC industry has gained in the current times, it has become imperative to develop a support ecosystem for the industry at large and support its growth in India. In order to boost the domestic capacities and develop the opportunity landscape, collaborations in academia, co-production, technology, policy and research must be explored to leverage the existing industry expertise.
The AVGC segment, as a part of the larger media and entertainment sector, also offers immense potential to employ youth.
The taskforce constituted held intensive consultations with departments concerned and the industry to carve out the report on ‘Realising AVGC-XR (Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics – Extended Reality) Sector Potential in India’, which was submitted on December 22, 2022.
A task force set up by the Indian government, in collaboration with industry stakeholders, has recommended tax related incentives for the Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comic (AVGC) sector, apart from launching a ‘Create in India’ initiative to push for content and IP creation in India for global consumption and setting up a Game Development Fund.
Some of the other content and IP-related recommendations in the AVGC draft report include the following:
- Promotion of international co-productions to help Indian films and AVGC services get global audiences.
- Creation of global content in the country, making India a global hub for the AVGC sector.
- Creation and protection of Intellectual Property in the AVGC-XR sector.
- Engaging AVGC-XR (where XR means augmented and virtual reality) software/product developing companies to reduce cost of acquisition of software.
- Entertainment and gaming industry producers to be encouraged to transform certain successful films (box office/ critically acclaimed/ popular characters, etc.) into games through a dedicated mechanism of cooperation between the entertainment and gaming industry.
- Transparent mechanisms for knowledge sharing may be established through collaboration among industry associations in the film and entertainment industry and the gaming industry.
- Global studios may be incentivized to tap into stories from India for gaming content and local IPs.
- The existing co-production treaties with nations to be amended to also include AVGC sector.
- To promote creation and consumption of indigenous animation content, giving an opportunity to domestic players to compete with international players in the domestic as well as international markets, there should also be provisions for mandating content reservation for local animation content.
- In cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, digital and authentic resources of Indian literature may be made available. Similar approach may also be adopted in respect of historical and folklore-based narratives.
- Mechanisms for promotion of indigenous comics, movies and animation ecosystems may be established to build a strong pipeline of ideas for gaming.
- States may also consider reimbursing a portion of investment made by companies to create content based on Indian themes.
“Government of India may commission a ‘Game Development Fund’ along with industry to promote and educate consumers/players on responsible gaming. Wherein the companies contribute 1 percent of their annual net profits to promote and educate stakeholders.
“Under international agreements, such as co- production treaties and other trade agreements, AVGC should be considered as a priority sector to gain access to focused incentives. This will also give domestic AVGC companies an opportunity to operate competitively in international markets,” the report pointed out.
Meanwhile, an official government statement said the main recommendations of the task force can be categorized broadly under four categories.