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Making Phase II of cable TV digitisation a success

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Making Phase II of cable TV digitisation a success

Phase I of digitisation has taught many lessons, both, to policy makers and stakeholders. The spotlight now is on the lessons learnt, the need for course correction, the dynamics of digital content and the future roadmap.

As digital penetration becomes widespread, there is a need for an effective business model to evolve, whereby all stakeholders in the industry come together to make Phase II of digitisation a success.

According to N Parameshwaran, Principal Advisor, TRAI, the real benefits have not yet set in. The commitment and coming together of the industry stakeholders will solve this problem. It is important to ensure from day one itself that all the systems are working and it is a multi-pronged approach.

Elaborating on this futher, Sameer Manchanda, Chairman and Managing Director, DEN stated, “This was a big change for the industry. The first step has taken time and a few months longer than expected. The important aspect is that you cannot afford to have pockets; everyone needs to be interested. It is a transitional phase. Give it another 60 days and things will fall into place.”

Anuj Gandhi, Group CEO, India Cast shared that it took around seven months during Phase I in big cities to get it right. With regards to the prospects on the second half of digitisation, there are certain elements such as where boxes are placed, the kind of packaging being rolled out, the payment, etc. which need more clarity.

Commenting on the same, Man Jit Singh, CEO, MSM added, “The entire process of Phase I helped in getting the industry together.”

According to Raman Kalra, Partner and Industry Leader, Media and Entertainment, IBM Global Business Services, it is not good enough to go digital today. There has to be a strategy for an everchanging value revenue model. Hence, micro segmentation of consumers and developing a content strategy is necessary.

Elaborating on this further, Tarun Katial, CEO, Reliance Broadcast stated, “There are two-three things that happened which were key to consumers and broadcasters. Since today carriage is easier, consumers have started sampling more. Hence, if you sharpen your positioning and marketing game, you get lapped up easily. This is a huge opportunity in consumer uptake and return.”

According to Sunil Lulla, CEO, TTN, the current economics are not adequate for the Phase II of digitisation. There is a whole lot of industry transformation taking place wherein the consumer experience has to change. This can work only when LCOs, MSOs, DTH operators, regulators, etc. work together and also agree to timelines.

Adding to this, Parameshwaran stated, “This is gradual process. At the end of the day, consumers will pay for what they see and fragmentation will happen. Choices will increase. Having said that, rates also should logically increase and there shouldn't be a dramatic change.”

Gandhi believes that it is important to take the existing set of channels and start segmenting it. “There shouldn't be any mistakes in Phase II as in the case of Phase I. A deadline should be set as an industry. It is imperative to innovate and introduce localised packages,” he said.

N Parameshwaran, Sameer Manchanda, Sunil Lulla, Man Jit Singh, Raman Kalra, Tarun Katiyal and Anuj Gandhi were expressing their views at the ongoing FICCI Frames, being held in Mumbai.


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