Friday, 1 June 2012

June 2012

1/6/12 -- 10th meeting of Task Force for Implementation of Digitalisation of Cable TV held under the Chairmanship of Mr Rajiv Takru.

Digital Switchover - Are we on the Right Track?

Indian cable TV industry is at a very crucial turning point, when not only it is undergoing a switchover from analog transmission to digital, it is undergoing a change in its structure as dictated by the government and the regulator. Cable Operators, who were running the industry for the last 25 years are being pushed behind the scene, leaving space to some big media houses that already enjoy large scale vertical monopolies in the business.  Considering the way digitalization is being implemented through hurriedly drafted regulations, without any consideration for thousands of LCOs threatened with unemployment and millions of subscribers who cannot afford the STBs and the Pay Channels, industry is definitely being pushed into a chaotic situation by the incumbent bureaucracy. What USA and Europe could not achieve in 12 years, we are trying to achieve in three years ignoring the fact that our economy is in shambles, GDP has come down to 6.5, number of poor is growing every year, power and food shortage is perennial and we have no adequate manufacturing infrastructure in place.  

Digitalisation - Going from bad to worse

As deadline for the first phase of digitalisation ie 30 June 2012 is coming closer, speculations are in the air that it may be deferred for a few months. Already there are two cases filed in the courts in Delhi and Mumbai respectively against the unrealistic deadlines and unviable revenue share. 
Cable Operators in the Metros are also approaching local authorities to help them seed the STBs as per the government mandate as they are complaining that the distributors of MSOs are not providing sufficient number of STBs for their consumers. As STBs are in short supply, they are seeding STBs first in their own direct points, thus endangering the livelihood of other LCOs who would be asked to shut shop after the blackout day of 1 July 2012 if they do not seed the STBs in their network. In Delhi, operators have even demanded police protection against any public outrage on 1st July.