The second session of the day-long India Satellite Forum organised by CASBAA in Delhi on March 18 saw participants weighing the pros and cons of different platforms like DTH, Cable and Headend-in-the-Sky (HITS).
The speakers at the session on ‘Reaching the consumers – DTH Vs Cable Vs HITS’ included Ravi Mansukani of HTMT/ INCablenet; Amitabh Kumar, Director, Corporate Affairs, Zee Group; and, Dr N Bhaskara Rao, Chairman, Centre for Media Studies. The discussion was moderated by Atul Phadnis of Media E2E.
The discussion began with how subscribers looked at the different platforms. To this Dr Rao said, “At CMS, we track consumer habits, both in macro and micro levels. We had done a study for TRAI in 21 cities to compare how consumers looked at the set-top box (STB) technology. I would say there are mixed feelings. There are a lot of apprehensions over what kind of unknown elements are present in STBs. However, in the long run the subscribers would consider the billing, the service provided to them, word of mouth publicity and other factors to choose a service. There would always be hope for technology upgradation, and so there would be a ‘let’s wait’ attitude among the consumers.”
According to Amitabh Kumar, Government regulation was killing the Indian market. “There is a need to sit with Government officials and discuss things over as they have not understood the market. Cable would degrade unless the quality is improved,” he said. Kumar was very concerned about the pricing structure of the industry and asked at rates like Rs 5 per channel per subscriber how the Government expected broadcasters, operators and others involved in the system to survive. He stressed that the pricing should be in accordance with the service and it should be up to the consumers to decide what to watch.
Manshukhani called for a reduction in entertainment taxes. He also said that consumers would be attracted to a service when they got value for money.