Saturday, 21 June 2008

-Restructuring Of Cable TV-

Trai has started a consultation process to restructure the cable TV industry. Two open house discussions were held in Bhopal and Pune respectively in the last two months. However, I fail to understand the need of such an elaborate exercise which may not lead to any fruitful results. 
What could be the aim of this consultation? To save the multi crore industry run by thousands of small entrepreneurs or to eliminate them altogether to make way for the big sharks to grab the pie in the name of organizing the industry? The industry was organised in 1994.

TRAI Releases Consultation Paper on Relaxing Restrictive Provisions of VoIP

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has issued a consultation paper on the “Issues Related to Internet Telephony” on 12 May 2008. Authority has recently taken major initiatives which will enable Indian populace to reap the benefits of technological advancements. In this connection Authority has already issued consultation papers on ‘Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO)’ and ‘Carrier Selection’. Moving further in this direction is initiation of consultation process on Internet Telephony. 
Internet Protocol (IP) with robust network can support multiple applications and cater to large number of users. Deployment of IP Networks by telecom service providers has been on the rise all over the world. Currently, different services are being run over IP based networks including Voice over IP (VoIP). The popularity of IP network world over can be gauzed from the tremendous rise in IP traffic recently. As per Cybermedia Center, Osaka University, IP traffic growth rate is 100% on year–to-year basis as compared to 8% growth of voice traffic. It is projected that in the near future IP Based networks will be used for providing end-to-end telecom services including triple play services and may eventually takeover conventional voice networks. 

Regulating Television Ratings

Indian viewers started their journey with two channels in 1991, now have crossed the mark of 300 channels and are at 313 as on 16th January, 2008.The number of channels is expected to reach 465 by the end of the 11th Plan. This has resulted in the battle for the eyeballs becoming more fierce amongst the broadcasters.

TRAI’s Proposal for Value Added Services

TRAI released a consultation paper on Growth of Value Added Services and Regulatory Issues on 28th May, 2008. Consultation paper focuses on the approach for the growth, regulatory guidelines and terms and conditions in respect of licensing and provisioning of Value Added Services. The telecommunication services today have moved beyond their fundamental role of voice communications to a spectrum of non-core services, which in telecommunication parlance is called Value Added Services (VAS).In times to come people will buy mobile phones or any end user terminal device not just to remain connected for access but to express themselves in a variety of ways. Value Added Services are provided either directly by the telecom operators or by a third party Value Added Service Providers. 
In India the revenue (estimated) from mobile Value Added Services is over 10 to 14% of the total revenue of mobile telecom service providers which is expected to cross 30% of the total revenue in the next 5-7 years. Today SMS constitutes major portion of the VAS revenue. While entertainment services have become popular with the consumers, there remains a scope for utility based services like location information, mobile commerce (M-Commerce)for mobile transactions etc. The service providers will shift their focus from subscriber base expansion to Value Added Services, as these services have the potential to generate good revenue for the telecom operators.

Restructuring Of Cable TV

Trai has started a consultation process to restructure the cable TV industry. Two open house discussions were held in Bhopal and Pune respectively in the last two months. However, I fail to understand the need of such an elaborate exercise which may not lead to any fruitful results. 
What could be the aim of this consultation? To save the multi crore industry run by thousands of small entrepreneurs or to eliminate them altogether to make way for the big sharks to grab the pie in the name of organizing the industry? The industry was organised in 1994.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Conax Conditional Access Helping Indian digital-TV Operators secure their revenues

The broadcast industry in India is gearing up for the government’s push toward mandatory conditional access (content security) for the cable TV industry. Conax is aware that piracy in terms of illegal content redistribution is an increasing source of revenue loss for broadcasters in India. To respond to this challenge, leading content security provider Conax is working together with customers and partners in India to combat this form of piracy and build a solid defence against potential pirates.
Conax Access Systems Private Limited, India, was established in 2003. The subsidiary has operation centres both in New Delhi and Mumbai, serving a number of satellite and cable customers including Essel’s Dish TV, one of the fastest growing DTH operations in the world. Conax has made significant in-roads into the Indian market, and has so far supplied more than 4 million smart cards in India.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Restructuring Of Cable TV

In continuing its effort to regularize the industry, TRAI is now serious in restructuring the cable television industry. Last month it had two open house discussions with the stake holders, one in Bhopal and the other in Pune. The subject effects so many last mile operators and MSOs that even two open house sessions may not be adequate. Unfortunately many cable operators have not yet felt the importance of the subject, due to a long lasting stalemate in the industry. I feel they have resigned to their fate or have shifted their focus on other business, only waiting for some miracle to happen in the industry. 
Taming the television ratings and viewer ship is another issue that created quite a stir in the industry last month. The open house discussions attracted many stake holders. All advertising agencies and broadcasters were confident of making their newly formed BARC as the apex body for the purpose rather than let the government control them. Contrary to this, the consumers and network operators wanted strict government regulations as consumers were highly effected by the TRPs, considering that the content that they consume is effected by them. All channels provide the same type of content that gets the high TRPs, on one channel. Broadcasters have also been successful in delaying introduction of the content code as the meeting of stake holders committee that was to take place in the I&B ministry last month has been postponed indefinitely. Since the next general elections are approaching soon, it appears the government will go slow on any new regulation to avoid any controversy. 
Although in principal the government has cleared CAS implementation, the broadcasters have, once again put a spoke by bringing in the piracy issue. Surprisingly government has accepted such a frivolous issue to stop modernization of the cable networks and sacrifice benefit to the consumers. They did not have any hitch introducing CAS in DTH, IPTV, mobile communications etc as if these were all fool proof systems not susceptible to piracy. It is also strange that broadcasters start shouting on their voice for self regulations only when government tries to tighten up the noose on them. Content code, Broadcasting Bill and CAS implementation are clear examples. In practice they do nothing. Even now the ads get banned for obscenity. 
DTH is in the hot news once again with Reliance announcing a massive marketing blitz selling their package for Rs.1000/- for the existing DTH subscribers. This has already set in a battle situation in the market with Dish TV giving STBs free. What I have noticed in the last three years is that DTH operators have not made any considerable dent in the cable market and are more busy fighting a war amongst themselves. Even the latest Dish TV ad showing SRK literally begging the consumers to take a free Dish connection saying “Ab to wish karo Dish karo” indicates this fact. Well that is the power of cable. In the near future after the cable TV is restructured I have full belief that even the telecom operators will use cable last mile for their triple play. 
This month we shall see you all in Singapore in “Broadcast Asia 2008” from 17-20 Jun.

—— Lt. Col. (Retd.) K K Sharma

Editor

Source: http://cablequest.org/articles/editorials/item/1815-restructuring-of-cable-tv.html

June 2008

Monday, June 02, 2008 -- 40,000 employees of Prasar Bharti observe a ‘tool down’ strike in New Delhi.