Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Shri Manish Tew ari emphasized that the digitization process during Phase-III and IV would have to focus on the interest of the consumers in order to ensure that they were partners in the process rather than adversaries. Phase III and IV of Digitisation
Talking about the next phases of Digitisation, Tewari said the industry would have to run a focussed consumer awareness campaign, whereby the consumer would have to be sensitized about the benefits accruing from this process. Elaborating further, he stated that the campaign would have to focus on improved quality of viewing and related qualitative benefits accruing to the consumer as a result of the implementation process. The learnings of the implementation during Phase-I and Phase-II would also have to be taken into account while outlining the implementation roadmap for the remaining phases. For digitization to succeed, the industry would have to make efforts to ensure that the consumer was an integral component in the digitization value chain. At the same time, the comprehensive approach would also ensure the emergence of viable business model for the industry.
Admitting that the response to digitisation had not been very satisfying and there was general unhappiness among all stakeholders, including broadcasters, multi-system operators and cable TV operators, Mr Tewari said that he was interested in postponing the deadline for completion of Phase III and IV to 2020 but all the stake holders assured him that the process must go on schedule and they would try their best to implement in the interest of the consumers. He further added, “If everyone is unhappy, then we should take a break and review... and sort out issues.”
Television Rating Points
On the issue of Television Rating Points (TRPs) the Minister said that this initiative was an attempt to make the process transparent, credible and accountable. At the same time, the endeavor was to address aberrations in the existing rating system. The Minister added that this initiative was based on the past recommendations of the Standing Committee, TRAI, and Dr. Amit Mitra Committee. The Government had also been approached in the past by the industry stakeholders to rectify the existing flaws. The long term objective was an attempt to usher a system with defined rules within an existing framework.
Monopolies in Cable TV Sector
On the issue of monopolies in the Cable TV sector, Mr Tewari said that regulator had already made its recommendation and the issues involved were being examined by the Inter Ministerial Committee (IMC). The Minister also mentioned that for the broadcasting sector to grow the regulatory framework ought to be stable and transparent for all stakeholders. This would ensure orderly growth for the sector in the long run.
“Surrogate political ownership is an unfortunate reality in the television distribution business and needs to be fixed in order to ensure that only a few big players don’t become dominant,” he averred.
Mr Tewari said around 800 TV channels in the country were reflective of “fragmentation” of the market. The 415 news channels, the minister said, were dependent on advertisements for sustenance. Touching on the discourse on TV news channels, he said it was “corrosive”. The minister also mentioned that for the broadcasting sector to grow the regulatory framework ought to be stable and transparent for all stakeholders. This would ensure orderly growth for the sector in the long run.