Monday, 1 June 2009

Better Times Ahead

The dance of democracy that began a few months ago ended with a good note. The UPA government is again given the mandate to form the next government. With Manmohan Singh been sworn as the Prime Minister, we have the hope of continuing with the progressive policies of the UPA government pursued for the next five years too. We also expect that the decisions taken so far in many fields will not be reversed like it happens at such times when a different political party comes to power. General atmosphere in the country is that of a stable government with progressive policies creating a better economic environment much needed for the growth of any business. A sudden spurt in the Stock Market indices is a clear signal of this.
Coming to the field of broadcasting, we can expect some changes with a new minister, new secretary, new TRAI chairman and new broadcast advisor in the TRAI. I sincerely hope with Commonwealth Games approaching fast and the rest of the world moving towards a digital environment, the pending decisions in this respect are given a push so that we start the implementation soon. Digitalisation of Cable networks is a time consuming thing as it requires investments, technology implementation and above all, acceptance of the technology by the masses. By this I mean acceptance of addressability and conditional access which are the integral part of the digital cable.

New technologies survive only when there is enough revenue generation for all stake holders for the further growth. This means the leakage of revenue from piracy and content theft has to be stopped. CAS can play an important rope in this and must be implemented with speed. This is the only way a healthy competition between Cable, IPTV and DTH can be generated at a level playing field.
Security of the content, particularly in the new media like the Internet, IPTV. Mobile TV etc is also very important because here the unauthorized downloads and illegal distribution has weaned the industry of billions of dollars. India is considered among the top few countries where piracy and theft of content is rampant. We have a strong legal infrastructure in place but we fail at the implementation level. May be, some new technologies can help us at the origination of the content to secure its misuse.
DTH tariff has caused quite a concern these days as with the growing competition and global economic slowdown, the subsidies provided by the operators to the consumers are bleeding them rapidly. Ultimately Supreme Court has asked TRAI to initiate the tariff as well as Carriage fee policy for DTH soon. TRAI is now in talks with all the stake holders and hopes to recommend some thing viable and satisfying to all DTH operators, broadcasters as well as the consumers. IPL is over but kept everyone glued to the TV for the whole month. There is a spate of new programming now on every channel to keep viewers busy for the summer holidays. This month Broadcast Asia is likely to attract many exhibitors and visitors from India as Indian Industry is on the upswing and investments are continuing. 

—— Lt. Col. (Retd.) K K Sharma



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