The Broadcasters have planned an emergency meeting on Friday to take a view on the post-CAS scenario. Interestingly, the meeting, which is bound to be critical, will be chaired by Doordarshan CEO, KS Sarma. The 20 representatives of broadcasting houses who would attend the meeting would include those of Star, Zee, Sony and ESPN, among others.
The primary concerns that are expected to be raised are those related to the implementation of CAS. Free-to-air channels to be contained in the basic tier and its pricing are perhaps on top of the agenda. Why should the government fix the basic tier, is one question that every broadcaster is keen to ask. With the government deciding to put three must-carry DD channels in the basic tier, it’s another bone of contention for private channels.
Technology, which has remained an issue as far as CAS is concerned, is also tipped to figure in the talks. While most broadcasters tend to favour digital set-top boxes in the CAS regime, there’s a strong likelihood of inexpensive analog boxes flooding the market. With experts indicating that fudging of subscriber numbers may be possible in the case of analog boxes, broadcasters may question reliability of such a system.
The meeting is also likely to take up the issue of open-architecture set-top boxes in the case of Direct-to-Home (DTH) television. While the government norms for DTH prescribe an open-architecture system, broadcasters, particularly Star, have been making a case for a proprietary set-top box system.
Then there would be some other points of discussion including ban on surrogate advertisements on TV. But hot on the agenda is CAS, for its implementation may mean loss of revenues for broadcasters, at least in the short term.