Time to Stop the Blame Game The month of March kept us extremely busy with four major events namely, CASBAA Satellite Forum, Delhi, FICCI Frames in Mumbai, Convergence India in New Delhi and CCBN (China); the later three ran concurrently on the same dates. I feel now the markets are global and the organizers should coordinate the dates in such a way that such clashes don’t occur. All the events are very important for the industry and everyone should get a chance to attend.
FICCI Frames in Mumbai had many big names in the conference including James Murdoch , the Chairman and CEO (Europe and Asia) of News Corp. It is sad what James spoke in the conference as reported in the Media. He blamed cable operators for holding up digitalization process. I wish he had studied the chronology of implementing addressablility in India. It was the broadcasters like STAR who did not want transparency in the market when the government enacted the CAS amendment to Cable TV Act. Broadcasters were scared to lose their viewership of not so popular channels if the consumers were empowered to pick their choice of channels. Even a delegation the US Regulator, FCC was invited by these pay broadcasters to pressurize the government to delay the process, making an excuse that the consumers were not ready to spend for the set-top-boxes. After that they had launched their DTH services to bypass the cable operators and they totally forgot about the consumers and the set-top-boxes then. I remember even a consumer organization was sponsored by the broadcasters to fly from Mumbai to Delhi to lobby against the CAS.
It is also sad to hear a person of Mr Aroon Purie ‘s stature to call cable operators thieves and cheaters or words to that effect. He forgot that his free to air channels were seen by the masses only through these cable operators that filled his coiffures and made him launch many more TV channels later. In fact, I feel it is broadcasters like him who cheated the cable operators as well as the consumers by making money from ads in their FTA channels first and then going ‘pay’ without addressability in place, forcing cable operators to pay for all the unwanted channels and consumers to see all those channels.
Surprisingly, contrary to what Mr Murdoch and the like have been saying in FICCI like sponsored platforms, the KPMG Report on the Entertainment Industry confirms that broadcasters earn 60% revenue from subscriptions and only 40% from ads.
The trade exhibitions saw a growth in visitors as well as exhibitors confirming the start of a positive growth period after the recession. Main focus everywhere was on digital media, multi-platforms for distribution and mobility.
We also had the NT Awards organized by Indiantelevision. Com for the news channels. Awards grew this year with more regional channels participating.
Cricket fever is continuing; after the impressive victory of Indian team over Pakistan in the World Cup Semifinal, now everyone wants a repeat in the Finals on 2nd April. IPL will take over from 8th April and keep us glued to our TV sets.