Monday, 10 February 2014

Approaching a Rating Black out

New guidelines on rating TV may create rating blackout for country
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India has formulated policy guidelines for Television Rating Agencies to operate in India. These guidelines shall be applicable to all rating agencies providing television rating services in India and shall come into force after 30 days from the date of issuance of the same. The Government notified the guidelines on 16 January and set deadline of 15 February for implementation. But these guidelines have created a lot of furor. WPP-owned Kantar Group, one of the two promoters of TAM Media Research (the only company that offers television ratings at the moment) has gone to court against the ministry's directive. The clause that has bothered Kantar the most is the one that states, “No single company, directly or through its associates, is allowed to hold more than 10 per cent paid up equity in a rating agency if it also holds a stake in a broadcaster, advertiser or advertising agency”. Kantar owed 50 percent stake in TAM Media Research.

Recommendations don’t reflect Real situation

It is quite surprising to see the recommendations of the Expert Committee as all across the globe public broadcasters are going for digital terrestrial transmissions to save on spectrum but in India the committee has preferred satellite television which is highly cost intensive and uses more spectrum and scarce transponder space. Some of the points that are worth considering before taking a final decision are given below:-
Shortage of Satellite Transponders :  Apart from the high cost of satellite transponders required for Satellite TV there is a dire shortage of these transponders as India has very strict rules of buying only through ISRO. Our private DTH operators have been demanding transponders to increase their channel capacity but there are none available. It is difficult to understand why satellite is being preferred over terrestrial. 

Ministry Guidelines for TV Rating service in India

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (Govt. of India) has introduced policy guidelines to operate television rating service in India. These guidelines shall be applicable to all rating agencies providing television rating service in India and shall come into force after 30 days from the date of issuance of the same.   These guidelines are as follows:

Focus on Consumers in Phase III & IV

The year 2014 has started with great hopes. There have been positive signals from all sides. The I&B Minister, Manish Tewari in his address in the CII's CEO roundtable said that the industry must focus on the consumers most in the Phase-3  and 4 of digitization. 
The Minister also stated that he is very much concerned about various issues and hurdles experienced by stakeholders, particularly the cable operators and assured that the Ministry is in the process of resolving these issues after a dialogue with the industry very soon. In fact, he showed great concern on the reports from the market that none of the stakeholders including broadcasters, MSOs or the LCOs were happy with the way digitisation was progressing. In that case he was ready to postpone the deadline for Phase-3 and 4 to 2020, but on the insistence of the industry he kept the old deadline of 31 Dec 2014 intact. However, he asked the stakeholders to resolve their intra-industry issues among themselves without bringing government in the picture.

LCOs fighting for Fundamental Rights

Progress of digitisation in Phase II cities is held up because Consumer Acquisition Forms (CAF) have not been collected from all consumers and complete consumer data is not fed into the Subscriber Management Systems (SMS) to generate itemised billing.
Keeping in view the enormity and complexity of the task involved, TRAI has exercised regulatory forbearance in the interest of consumers and initially extended the time for collection of the CAFs and entry of these details in the SMS up-to November 2013. Thereafter, on the explicit request of the MSOs, further extensions of time up to December 2013 were given.

Focus on Interest of the Consumers- Manish Tewari

Excerpts from I&B Minister Manish Tewari’s address in the CII CEO’s Round Table on 24 January 2014

Mega Cable Fest, Kochi, Kerala 9-11 January 14

Kerala Cable Operators have welcomed Government initiative of digitising all Cable TV networks

TDSAT Seminar, Jaipur- 18 January 2014

On 18 January TDSAT held its seminar for consumer contact on 18 January 2014 in Hotel Clarks Amer, Jaipur. These seminars held regularly throughout the year in different cities of the country are aimed at discussing consumer issues in broadcasting and telecom sectors. The seminars also help to educate young lawyers and local stakeholders in understanding the dispute settlement process in the telecom and broadcasting sector.

5th CEOs Round Table on Broadcast New Delhi, 24 Jan 2014

CII organized its 5th CEOs Round table on 24 January 2014 at Hotel Le Meridien, New Delhi. The conference highlighted the issues of the industry in implementing Digitisation in Cable Television. 

CONVERGENCE INDIA 2014

The event was inaugurated by Hon’ble Member of Parliament and Former Union Minister, Shri Syed Shahnawaz Hussain at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. Speaking on the occasion, Shri Syed Shahnawaz Hussain had said, “I am pleased to be present at this important platform that recognizes the potential of the evolving telecommunications, media and entertainment industry and its contribution in boosting the economy, and overall growth of the nation”.

Recommendations don’t reflect Real situation

It is quite surprising to see the recommendations of the Expert Committee as all across the globe public broadcasters are going for digital terrestrial transmissions to save on spectrum but in India the committee has preferred satellite television which is highly cost intensive and uses more spectrum and scarce transponder space. Some of the points that are worth considering before taking a final decision are given below:-

Expert panel in favour of Autonomous status for Prasar Bharti

Information and Broadcasting Ministry on 28, January, 2013 constituted an expert committee under the chairmanship of technocrate Sam Pitroda to review the functioning of Prasar Bharti and to recommend steps to transform it into a world-class public broadcasting service. The committee has submitted its report to ministry on 24th January 2014 with a number of recommendations for smooth functioning  of Prasar Bharti.  Recommendations of committee address the issues of financial and administrative autonomy of Prasar Bharti; new models of funding with accountability; use of technology in the digital and cable TV operations; archive of DD and AIR rich content; establishment of social media platforms; huma n resource management for talent and skillful infusion. Collective implementation of these recommendations can transform Prasar Bharti into a world-class public broadcasting service.