First month of the year witnessed very heavy activity all throughout. Assembly elections in the capital kept the television media extremely busy as there was a fierce fight between the BJP lead by PM Modi and AAM Admi Party lead by Arvind Kejriwal. With Kiran Bedi joining the BJP and being projected as the CM candidate, news television saw very interesting live episodes of Indian politicking.
Highlight of last month was ofcourse, the visit by US President Barack Obama as the Chief Guest at the Republic Day Parade. His three day visit was the highlight of all news channels. With Obama visit, grew many hopes of heightened business relationship between the two countries and promise of huge investments by many US companies.
Cap on advertising is again in the news. Surprisingly, this time it was Mr Arun Jaitley, the I&B Minister who brought the subject to the fore stating in a public address that putting a cap on advertising duration is a mistake that he will try to undo. It is also very surprising that the Delhi High Court, where the broadcasters had challenged this regulation of TRAI has once again postponed the hearing in the case giving reason of shortage of time. Perhaps, consumer interest is not of such a high importance in India.
Even this NDA Government’s attitude towards broadcast regulations and digitisation is very lackadaisical. It does not appear to be serious in getting the results, creating a sense of insecurity amongst the stakeholders who have been forced to invest heavily in the infrastructure. Even in Phase- I, after more than two years of its completion, we still do not have choice to the consumers and providing them with itemised billing. Both TRAI and MIB are keeping quiet about the whole thing as if their responsibility is over after framing the regulations.
There is no activity even on the manufacturing front as the MSOs have not shown any interest in indigenous products and still feel, buying from other countries likes China and Taiwan is a better deal than go for the locally made STBs. Many companies wish to manufacture STBs in India but they are waiting for a conducive policy environment.
The annual event of the industry Convergence India 2015 concluded last month with a hope of bringing new technologies to India. Many international companies brought their latest products for introducing in the Digital India market, hoping that Prime Minister’s resolve to make India digital will give them good opportunities to expand their business in the country. However, things are not moving in the right direction and it may take quite some time to see good results. I met many LCOs during the exhibition and found that they are still struggling with the new regulations that make them subservient to the MSOs. None of their issues have been resolved and no MSO has come up with a viable business model for them to integrate them in the main stream. DAS Regulations have further fragmented the industry rather than promote consolidation.