Thursday, 1 May 2008

Going Forward with Regulations

TRAI’s enthusiasm in drafting new regulations for the Industry has not yet died down. Last month we saw TRAI declare DTH bouquet/channel prices. Also open house discussions were held on entry of other entities in broadcasting and distribution and revision of Foreign Investments in the industry, Sad that the attendance of stake holders was very low. Final recommendations of TRAI on FDI have also been sent to the Ministry. They have recommended 74% FDI for Cable networking raising it from 49%, which may prove good to attract foreign equity from people who are interested to consolidate the networks using convergence technologies and still maintain the status of the small cable operators intact. Most of the Indian companies, unfortunately, create an impression of a total take over that scares the LCOs to support them whole heartedly. 
CAS rabbit is again out of the hat. This time the government appears serious in implementing it. The MSOs and operators have provided a time plan of phased implementation in 55 major cities which has been accepted in principle. We hope to have the notification of the roll-out soon that may take off from January 2009. 
I&B ministry has also constituted two committees, one for rationalization of entertainment tax and the other to provide right of way (RoW) to the operators. Also, TRAI is looking into resolving the TRP muddle through a consultation process. All these activities indicate seriousness of the government in regulating the industry in a speedy manner. We all hope that we find some workable solutions that let the industry grow rather than create infighting amongst the stakeholders. 
The T20 cricket did a wonderful thing by relegating all top entertainment soaps in the TRP game. People attribute this success to a combination of Bollywood glamour and cricket. All the glamour of the American Redskin cheerleaders added to this fervour. The protests against their performance by some politicians kept the news channels busy and show more of their skin. Making the event more popular. This was definitely something new in the Indian sports history. It has already activated the moral brigade demanding a ban on the cheerleaders dances in skimpy dresses. This again brings us to the burning topic of content code which the broadcasters still feel that government has no right to interfere. There is a meeting in the ministry in May where we may find a solution. 
It is hearting to inform all our readers particularly outside India that Cable Quest will now be available as an e-magazine in a readable format on so not to worry any more for postal delays. Click on the mouse and get what you want. 

—— Lt. Col. (Retd.) K K Sharma



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