The Indian Broadcasting Foundation members met in New Delhi yesterday to discuss the implication of the proposed Conditional Access Systems (CAS).
Any proposal that addresses the two fundamental issues of transparency and breaking up of the existing ground monopolies of the cable operators that face the industry is welcomed by the IBF. The reality is that today only 20 per cent of the ground revenue collected from the consumers across the country come back to the broadcasters.
The IBF members are of the view that there should be a planned and phased transition to enable the Indian consumers to comprehensively benefit from switching over to the Conditional Access Systems. To make CAS a reality in the current form, the IBF believes that there are many issues concerning technology, funding, availability of set top boxes, regulation and non-discriminatory implementation and there is a need for a detailed analysis.
Further, all the issues related with implementation of CAS need to be looked at and addressed in totality. An amendment to the Cable TV regulation Act is unlikely to resolve the fundamental issues that face the industry. It may infact result in exploitation of customers in terms of prices of the services charged by the cable operators due to monopolies on ground.
Members of the industry, Broadcasters, Vendors, Cable Operators and the Regulators need to work together to arrive at the correct CAS model. In the interim, the Broadcasters have decided to come together and focus on the immediate problem of under declaration and demand 100% transparency from the cable operators.
The IBF also suggests that the existing Parliamentary Select Committee headed by eminent parliamentarian Mr. Somnath Chatterjee, looking into the Convergence Bill is ideally positioned to examine all the matters in totality so that the consumer get the true benefit of the channels and the value added services.