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Reporter’s Diary: Can we bell the cat on October 31?

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Reporter’s Diary: Can we bell the cat on October 31?

With barely 52 days left for the digitisation process to kick in, the entire Rs 36,000 crore broadcast industry is eagerly waiting for the October 31 deadline.

Digitisation was the main focus area of all the leading broadcasters at the NewsNext 2012 conference and the exchange4media News Broadcasting Awards that was organised by the exchange4media Group in New Delhi recently.

Supriya Sahu, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, stated that digitisation is an idea whose time has come. NDTV Group’s Vikram Chandra also emphasised why digitisation is necessary and how broadcasters are paying a huge cost due to the digitisation deadline being postponed once. On a different note, Roop Sharma, President, COFI, who represents the cable operators, said, “Carriage fees are distributed in crores of rupees, but a significant portion goes back to the distribution team of broadcasters as kickbacks.”

But, when one looks at the ground realities, it is a different picture altogether. In various interactions with the MSOs and LSOs it is learnt that the shortage of set top boxes still persists. While in Kolkata and Chennai 70 per cent of the work regarding digitisation is incomplete, Delhi and Mumbai too are struggling to meet the deadline requirements.

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