Tuesday, 21 October 2008

CARRIAGE FEE

A Bone of Contention
On 3rd of September two private channels, Total TV and Chardhikala Time TV approached TDSAT against Prasar Bharti’s move to increase the fee for carrying their channels on its DTH platform DD Direct. Prasar Bharti had last month increased the carriage fee for their DD Direct+ DTH platform from 25 lakhs to 60 lakhs.

Government Eye on Media Ownership

TRAI released a consultation paper on Media Ownership on 23 September 2008. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) vide their letter dated 22/5/2008 has sought TRAI's recommendations on the need for cross media and ownership restrictions in India for radio, broadcasting and print medias. These recommendations have been sought under Section 11(1)(a) (ii)and (iv) of the TRAI Act. 
Government of India has provided for restrictions in ownership of companies seeking licenses/permissions/ registrations under various Policy Guidelines issued from time to time for electronic media. As of now such restrictions are in place with respect to DTH services and Private FM radio. TRAI has also been recommending similar restrictions in its various recommendations on Private Terrestrial TV, Headend-In-The-Sky (HITS) and Mobile TV. These have come at different times and stages of growth. Therefore there is a need to lay down a holistic and clear cut approach towards cross-media and ownership restrictions for the future growth of these sectors. 

Censorship Era Is Bygone Today, ‘self-regulation’ Is The Mantra

"Regulations that 'drive certain ideas or viewpoints from the marketplace' for the benefit of children risk destroying the very political system and cultural life' that they will inherit when they come of age." United States District Court, in ACLU v. Reno, June 11, 1996.
Censorship in television is a very debatable topic in today’s media and social realms. Nowadays what is considered appropriate by many may actually be considered explicit or unsuitable by the people in charge. Given the current concerns with television content and media scenario, many argue that Censorship may be the only way out to harness this medium. I strongly believe otherwise. Censorship attempts by the government (CBFC) in films till date is a good example of this futile exercise. But even more important to remember is that Censorship of television and radio not only defies the constitution, but also defies fairness and defies the proper role that a government should have. 

Guideline for IPTV

IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) is a system where a digital television service is delivered using the Internet Protocol over a network infrastructure, which may include delivery by a broadband connection. A simpler definition would be, television content that, instead of being delivered through traditional format and cabling, is received by the viewer through the technologies used for computer network. In case of IPTV, it requires either a computer and software media player or an IPTV set top box to decode the images in real time.

“Carriage Fee is Our Right”

Says Roop Sharma on the recent controversy in the matter where the broadcasters have expressed that they are being victimized by the MSOs, Cable Operators and DTH Players.
Cable TV started in India in 1989 but all other technology platforms for television delivery have been made addressable and with conditional access, giving them a more regulated and transparent regime. Cable however, is still suffering from lack of a proper regulatory regime. Implementation of CAS has been kept pending since 2003 under some pretext or the other, mostly on political grounds, where as other technologies like DTH, HITS and IPTV which also operate nationwide delivering the same content to the same population and all fully addressable, have been allowed to be launched and take a lead over cable. Thus, there are more investments coming in these new platforms of television delivery and they are on the growth path from the day one.

Monday, 20 October 2008

DVB-S2 The Next Generation Standard

As the technology is going ahead with a rocketing speed, India too is pacing with it and have shaken the world to get noticed. Due to rapid development most companies of the world are queuing up to please the Indian consumer as well raise the standard of life. And that is why, perhaps, more and more companies are introducing their upgraded products. Till now, most Indian companies had been using their S (satellite) technology, which specifies the use of QPSK modulation along with various tools for channel coding and error correction. 
The original DVB-S technology dates back to 1995 and was intended for delivery of broadcast services. In India, companies like TATA Sky, DISH TV, Sun Direct, BigTV, Doordarshan, each and every TV Channel, News Agencies and even data signals have been making use of this technology to provide satellite television to Indian masses. However, the introduction of the S2 technology by DVB is set to give Indian broadcasting a complete makeover. DVB-S2 is the second generation of the S-technology and comprises a variety of new features. DVB-S2 is based on the DVB-S standard which is used for satellite broadcasting, and the DVB-DSNG standard, which is used by mobile units for sending external footage back to television stations. 

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Government should wake-up

For the last one year Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRAI) entrusted with the task of regulating the telecom and broadcast industry has been busy doing consultancy with stake holders on various issues like broadband penetration, FDI, restructuring of Cable TV, digitization of Cable networks, IPTV, Mobile TV, DTH Technology, TRPs and now carriage fee and cross media holdings. This has made the industry extremely busy in finding solutions to its own problems where government gets to know how the regulations could make life easier. Unfortunately all this hardwork has remained only on papers as the Cabinet nod has been given only to one issue ie. IPTV operation. This too, I believe is because both MTNL and BSNL the two giants of Telecom industry working under the government protection are unable to get a headway in their IPTV operations for the last two years. So within a few months of initiating the process TRAI has given its recommendations and surprisingly, they were cleared in a jiffy where the bigger issues like implementing digitization and CAS, channel pricing and content regulations are just gathering dust in the ministry cupboards and may die their own death leaving the industry to fend for itself.

October 2008

Wednesday, October 01, 2008 -- TDSAT directed MSM Discovery, distributor of broadcasters Sony and Discovery to provide Channels on a-la-carte basis to Sun Direct.