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James Murdoch ask for a debate on CAS

27-May-2002
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James Murdoch ask for a debate on CAS

James R Murdoch, chairman and chief executive officer, Star Group, has stressed for a proper debate on the merits and demerits of the conditional access system (CAS) for the satellite television industry before introducing it in India.

Even as the Information and Broadcasting Ministry is pushing for an addressibility system, Star Group Ltd's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, James R. Murdoch, has said that Conditional Access System (CAS) is "not a magic bullet" that will bring order to a largely unregulated industry. Even though Murdoch is in the opinion that the proposed Cable Television Networks Regulation (Amendment) Bill 2002 could also slow down the growth of the industry, he went on to add that the bill was a well-intentioned one.

The Government had simply mandated a structure but "I don't think it takes into account the practical realities" or the technology behind the system. Murdoch made it amply clear that while the Star Group was not against CAS, he felt that the Government must not be involved in deciding on the basic tier or the price.

Murdoch said that CAS would not solve the problem of under-declaration of satellite TV subscription homes by the cable operators in India.

Murdoch maintained that cable operators would have to make huge investments in terms of upgrading the head-ends, installing a security system, a billing system and these issues would have to be addressed. According to him, Star Group is still interested in getting into direct-to-home broadcasting.

Interestingly, the cable amendment bill that mandates conditional access system for the Indian cable and satellite industry has already been cleared by the Lok Sabha. It is likely to be introduced in the Rajya Sabha in the next Parliament session.

Source: Business Standard

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