Conditional Access System (CAS) took off in the Zone-1 areas of Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata in January 2007. The multi-service operators (MSOs) released various consumer campaigns to create awareness around CAS and ensure the availability of set-top boxes (STBs). TAM Media Research has come out with a study to bring out the ground reality of CAS and its execution.
TAM commissioned AC Nielsen to conduct a ‘Pay TV Homes’ estimation study in the CAS-mandated zones of Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. The fieldwork periods were January 12-16, 2007 in Mumbai, January 11-15, 2007 in Delhi and January 11-16, 2007 in Kolkata. The fieldwork mid-point was January 14.
The study further divided the zones in these cities into 100 sampling nodes, ensuring adequate geographical coverage. The sample size included a total of 2,250 respondents, that is, 750 from each city. Face-to-face interviews using a structured questionnaire were conducted. The interviewee was the decision-maker pertaining to cable subscription.
The footprint of CAS shows that of the 7.96 million cable homes across the three metros, 1.63 million cable homes fall under the CAS-mandated zones (approx. 21 per cent homes fall under the mandated zones). Mumbai has 17 per cent CAS homes, Delhi 26 per cent (0.68 million of 2.61 million cable homes) and Kolkata 20 per cent CAS homes (0.41 million of the 2.1 million cable homes).
The study looks into CAS adoption in the mandated zones in the respective cities, profile of the ‘early adopters’ and consumer awareness.
Looking at the STB/DTH (direct-to-home) offtake across the three metros, of the 16.33 lakh homes covered by the CAS footprint, 2.77 lakh homes had taken up a STB/DTH connection to access ‘pay channels’. ‘Pay TV’ homes amounted to 17 per cent of the CAS-mandated areas. While there is 25 per cent penetration in Mumbai, in Delhi it is 14 per cent penetration, and in Kolkata 10 per cent penetration.
In addition to that, across the three metros, there are 1.98 lakh homes that claim to have taken subscription but are awaiting installation of ‘pay TV services’. In Mumbai, 20 per cent are awaiting installation, in Delhi 6 per cent, and in Kolkata, 11 per cent.
Cumulatively, Mumbai was most responsive, while in Delhi and Kolkata the response rate levels were at an aggregate level. At an SEC-wise penetration, the highest offtake is observed in the higher SEC and it declines as one comes down the SEC ladder. The offtake levels also vary significantly across markets – the highest off-take is observed in the SEC A strata in Mumbai and zero offtake in SEC D/E in Kolkata.
CAS awareness has significant ground to cover. The study probed to check for awareness levels in CAS-mandated areas, requirement of STB for viewing FTA channels and rental schemes for STBs. Despite low offtake in Kolkata, consumer awareness there appeared to be higher than in Delhi and Mumbai. Consumers residing in Delhi appeared to be the least aware compared to counterparts from Mumbai and Kolkata.
Pricing has come across as one of the reasons for not buying into CAS.