#FICCIFrames20: Live Events Will Return Stronger; Digital Will Augment the Experience

Business Events | July 9, 2020 | News

FICCI Frames 2020 Deepak Choudhary Roshan Abbas Albert Almeida Brian Tellis

Will digital events replace live events? On the contrary, chances are that the real value of the physical live experience that has been missed in the lockdown will be realized by audiences now.

That seemed to be the central thought among panelists discussing 'Virtually Live: Can live events survive in a pandemic world" on day three of FICCI Frames 2020, which went virtual this year.

 “Live events are going to come back bigger and stronger than ever before. This entire experiential ecosystem is going to become more valuable and going to get larger. The virtual aspect is an amplification of the live experience,” remarked Vivek Singh, Managing Director, Procam International.    

The chat on 9th July was moderated by Roshan Abbas, Managing Director, Geometry Encompass. Panelists included Albert Almeida, COO – Live Entertainment, BookMyShow; Alex Fane, Managing Director, Fane Productions; Brian Tellis, Co-Founder & Group CEO, Fountainhead MKTG; Deepak Choudhary, Founder & Director, Event Capital; and Vivek Singh, Managing Director, Procam International.

Getting Its Due

"BookMyShow sold 200 million tickets last year, a figure that has doubled in three years, revealed Almeida. The revenue growth was from Rs.1,400 crore to Rs.3,200 crore. The ticketing platform built its live events on the back of its established movie ticketing business, which garners the lion’s share even today. But the number of live events tripled in three years and tickets sold doubled," Albert Almeida, COO – Live Entertainment, BookMyShow said, adding up to Rs.650 crore in revenue.

“With Covid-19, the event industry was the first to shut, and it will possibly be the last to open again,” he remarked while underlining the rapid growth of live events.

The event industry that employs millions has never really got its due thanks to it being witnessed behind a cloud of ‘entertainment’, observed Abbas. Panelists concurred that this was perhaps the time to impress on the government the role played by the event industry in driving the economy and building the nation.

Citing the case of the UK, Fane noted how restaurants and pubs outside stadia have opened for business but are not attracting visitors because fans are not allowed at matches. “Now is the opportunity to show why the sector is so important,” he said.

Moderator Abbas raised the point about whether countries would lose live events to nations that can actually manage to host them, given prevailing regulations in different markets.

Singh underlined that ‘a mobile phone cannot replace a spectator or a fan’. He added, “Eventually, sponsors need consumers and consumers need live experiences. The ecosystem is going to heal itself in a beautiful way.”

Sponsorship has taken a hit, said Choudhary, who also pointed to between 100 and 150 (of the 500-odd) IPs being canceled in India. He did offer a solution to the sponsorship problem – a focus on six potential areas: CSR, Technology, Government, TV and OTT, Digital and Brand Solutions.

A New Reality

The lines are thin, or in some cases, invisible. While the debate rages on over digital events taking over from live events, one must view things in perspective, observed Tellis. He posed, “Is the IPL a live event or a televised event?”

He added, “A lot of people will accept the digital piece as an augmentation of the live experience. Digital is going to be a very, very important part of experiential. But the experience in the physical form is going to rule even stronger after the pandemic.”

He also underlined that the industry will have to make some fundamental changes in the current times. From being mere aggregators of services, a shift is warranted towards becoming brand developers bringing greater value to the table.  With one undeniable observation, Tellis summed up the ground reality: “The nature of our beast has changed. 

To view a recording of the session and other proceedings on day three, go to:

That seemed to be the central thought among panelists discussing 'Virtually Live: Can live events survive in a pandemic world" on day three of FICCI Frames 2020, which went virtual this year.

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