Saturday, 1 January 2011

Digitalisation and Addressability are the Key to the Future

We have reached the end of 2010, full of enthusiasm to enter the digital age. Although the year gone by made us witness many disappointing events, mainly of the corrupt practices in all segments of society, be it telecom, broadcasting, sports, politics or real estate. There were many positive happenings like TRAI's recommendations for the National Broadband Plan, beginning of High Definition Broadcast and 3G services, MSOs coming in lime light with successful IPOs and also the very first independent Cable Operator launching his IPO. To top it all we have the Consultation Paper from TRAI for interconnect Regulations in Non-Addressable Cable TV sector to resolve the issue of assumed connectivity.
The year 2010 will see Cable TV industry turning a new leaf with digitisation, broadband service and a progressive tariff regime being put in place. TRAI's Broadband Plan has emphasized use of 100 million cable TV connections for Broadband and has realized that future of broadband is wireline and not wireless, which the DOT has been advocating while issuing WiMax and 3G licenses. TRAI's paper very rightly marks fiber optic networks for the rural India as the speeds required are greater than 2 Mbps, not possible in the wireless networks of today. 
DTH is already on the upswing. Once the a-la-carte and the tariff issues are resolved in the on-going case in TDSAT, market is likely to become more stable. At present the DTH operators are thriving only on subsidising their services which is not a long term solution. With more than 600 TV channels in the country we are one of the largest content market in the world. In this issue we have the Secretary I&B Ministry, Uday Shankar, CEO Star India and Rahul Johri, Discovery Network talk about various issues bothering the industry, suggested solutions for the same and how the new digital technologies will change the future of the industry. There is a talk of self regulation by all experts but the broadcasters dont seem to be going in that direction. There are many examples of violations of cultural ethos and social norms for which I&B Ministry has been issuing advisories and notices to the broadcasters. 
A very important aspect that needs to be examined in the New Year is transparency of viewership. Not the one based on fudged and imaginary statistics but based on real numbers that can come only when we have all the digital systems made addressable using CAS. And we must have a better TRP system which I&B Ministry is trying to introduce. 
With these hopes and aspirations we are starting the New Year wishing prosperity and happiness for every one. 
The annual issue for 2011 is once again on the table with some new features and more information. We wait for your suggestions to make it better next year. 

—— Lt. Col. (Retd.) K K Sharma



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