X|Media|Lab Melbourne: Shekhar Kapur, film director

Some very interesting comments coming out of this discussion with film director Shekhar Kapur. He was asked what would happen in the near future when 15% of the world’s teenagers will be in India. He predicted that in the near future, 75% of new media revenues will come from Asia. He said that a future installation of the Spiderman series would gross a billion dollars in its first weekend with $750m of that from Asia, and when Spiderman takes off his mask, he would probably be Chinese. The future YouTube’s of Asia would have one billion users.

He is putting together a major media fund to take advantage of the huge opportunity he sees in Asia. He says that the fund will invest in a cross-Asian media eco-system. He wants to unlock working capital to go into research and development. The West sees Asia as a market and a cheap labour market, but he was talking about using this billion dollar fund to create a value-added economic engine.

Virgin Comic and Animation, which he co-founded, is now working to develop comics based on Asian heroes and stories. Once they develop successful comics, just as Marvel has done, these comics can be spun off into movies and games.

He is advising the government of Singapore, and he asked: Can Singapore become a hub of entertainment of the East? He can’t see an Indian director feeling comfortable in Shanghai or a Chinese director comfortable in Mumbai, but with the multi-cultural nature of Singapore, he can see directors from across Asia coming to Singapore.

To predict the future, he said that the question is not to worry about the direction of technologies but the future of social behaviour. The world is flowing, and the business models need to adapt to this.

You can’t be outside the community and form businesses.

Closing note from me: I had never travelled in Asia until recently, but in my two trips here in the last month or so, Asia sees itself as the future.

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