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Focus 2011: The challenges on the road to digitisation

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Focus 2011: The challenges on the road to digitisation

Focus 2011, the 5th global summit on media and entertainment in India, organised by Assocham, got off to a start in the National Capital on a day of heavy rains. Speakers at the day-long seminar put the spotlight on the transition from Analogue to Digitisation and the key challenges in this transition.

Industry experts stressed that the Government should formally usher in digitisation and also take steps to bridge the gap between the broadcasters/ MSOs and the operators.

While inaugurating the seminar, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, CM Jatua, informed, “The incentives are being offered on the recommendation of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).” He emphasised that while his Ministry “is doing everything to help the industry to grow, there is need for self-discipline.”

In the course of the discussion, it seemed that the broadcasters and cable organisations were not very positive about whether the country would be able to meet the sunset date of December 2014 set for digitisation. The speakers spoke on different aspects of this scenario.

According to A Mohan, VP, Zee Network, there were challenges on the road to digitisation. Meanwhile, Sugato Banerji, CMO – DTH, Bharti Airtel, noted that both analogue and digital would co-exist for some time, but added that analogue should gradually be phased out. VP Pulak Bagchi, VP, STAR India, observed that people still did not understand the gains from digitization and, therefore, some amount of public education was necessary. He added, “Digitisation would help in national security by giving the power to the Government to block illegal channels. Moreover, also reduce the rift between broadcasters and cable operators through a cogent licensing regime, besides checking tax leakages through under-declaration or other means. The consumer, on the other hand, will get several social benefits.”

But it was Rohit Bansal, CEO and Co-founder, Hammurabi & Solomon Consulting, who played ‘the devil’s advocate’ as he explained “at the ground level there exists a different Bharat”. He posed a number of questions on why anyone would want to change the status quo.

Siddharth Jain, GM, HBO Network and content distribution of South Asia, spoke about the losses suffered by the creators of music. However, he, too, was sure that both analogue and digital would have to co-exist for many years to come.

Let’s go digital, was the call of the day.

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