Even as broadcasters and cable operators continue to fight it out over the issue of under-declaration of subscriber homes, TV channels strongly believe that subscribers can play a crucial role in resolving the problem. With the Star and Zee channels going missing on InCable and Spectranet network in Mumbai and Delhi, respectively, the issue of sorting out the channel-cable imbroglio has gained momentum once again.
The skewed structure of the cable industry is in the process of getting corrected, according to a pay channel source. One of the solutions to the cable problem seems to be more payment on the part of consumers each month, agree channels.
Although there’s no clear-cut answer to that, the general perception is that going ‘pay’ is the only way to go for channels. The revenue model of the channels has to be subscription-based and not just advertisement-based in the long run. So, the subscriber has to pay more.
The system of addressability through conditional access system (CAS) must be introduced. Even as the much ambitious CAS is nowhere close to being introduced yet, high-end receiver boxes may resolve the issue to a certain extent.
The other solution, is in having direct access to consumers. Meaning, the multi-service operators (MSOs) should be able to access the subscribers directly, without having to go through their joint venture partners at a local level.
According to Mr. Shantanu Aditya, vice-president, Sony Entertainment Television, there is no easy solution to this ongoing problem between TV channels and cable operators. There’s no organised data available on cable homes. The figures on cable and satellite homes are available only from various agencies. In this scenario, only a government legislation to introduce the conditional access system (CAS) would work. CAS will allow a subscriber to watch what he wants and pay for only that.
As of now, the gap between broadcasters’ figures of the number of subscriber homes and cable operators’ declaration is huge.
Also, professional companies joining the cable industry is likely to bring some relief. Till then, it’s going to be broadcasters’ word against cable operators’. And periodical black out on your TV screen.