Thursday, 5 April 2012

No Unregistered Channels on Cable Networks - Cable Television Networks (Regulation) -- Second Amendment Bill, 2011

The passage of the Cable TV bill for Digitisation of cable TV in India has been accomplished in such a great hurry, without even completing the recommendation of TRAI given in 2010. However, an infructuous Bill called the Second Amendment to Cable TV Act Bill, is pending finalization in the Standing Committee of the Parliament on Communication and IT.  Very few in the industry know the existence of this Bill that will restrict the transmission of any unregistered channel on cable TV networks. Very introduction of such a Bill makes me suspicious of government intentions when there are already many provisions in the existing Cable TV Act that do not permit any cable operator to transmit any unauthorized content. Also, Guidelines for Downlinking do restrict downlinking of any unregistered TV channel.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

April 2012

1/4/12 -- The last word on the BCCI-Nimbus dispute is still not out as the sports marketing company has moved the apex court against a Bombay High Court directing it to furnish a bank guarantee of `3.05 billion.

Budget 2012-13 -- No Support to Digitalisation

l though Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has reiterated that it will adhere to the Sunset date for switching off analogue, starting from 01 July 2012, little has been done to facilitate the move in terms of financial incentives, tax exemptions, duty waiver, infrastructure recognition as recommended by the Regulator TRAI in 2010.

A Budget without Cheers

The first setback to I&B Ministry’s Cable TV Digitalisation plan was rejection of all its proposals to provide financial incentives to the industry through the new Budget 2012-13 by the Finance Minister. Instead, 2% increase in Service tax will make things more difficult for all operators. Overall, the Budget this year does not bring any cheer for the industry. 
It is also very strange that knowing fully well that many essentials like the tariff, interconnect regulations, equipment standards, infrastructure issue, content availability to digital networks, licensing and registration are not in place, Ministry officials are literally bullying the Cable Operators to digitalise or perish. During its first open house discussion with the industry organized by FICCI, Rajiv Takru, the Additional Secretary, I&B Ministry reiterated that even if no rules and regulations were in place, operators must start seeding STBs in consumer homes in the metros. Using an almost threatening language, he said that no additional time will be given beyond 30 June 2012 for the Phase-I and analog transmissions will be completely stopped after that. God knows from where does he get this confidence to be so certain that things can be done this way.