Multi System Operators (MSO) are taking note of the changing television dynamics with the entry of new platforms like Direct-to-Home (DTH) and IPTV. In a bid to face the evolution, MSOs have joined hands to create MSO Alliance, with Ashok Mansukhani as President.
Addressing a press briefing, members of the MSO Alliance spoke on different issues that the Indian cable industry is faced with and the ‘risky’ business that MSOs presently are in. For the uninitiated, MSO Alliance is a joint industry body consisting of MSOs like IndusInd Media & Communications, Hathway and SitiCable amongst others.
The meet saw the presence of industry professionals like Ashok Mansukhani, President, MSO Alliance, K Jayaraman, MD & CEO, Hathway and S Palakodetti, COO, InCableNet.
MSO Alliance emphasised on the digital services that they were encouraging to offer services that could match what DTH and IPTV would offer in times to come. “Today, most of the MSOs are providing Digital Cable Services and digitalising analogue proactively for delivering the widest choice at value for money price. The digital services including many additional channels are available from key MSO networks in Mumbai like Incablenet (IMCL) and Hathway, at no additional subscription amount,” said Palakodetti.
The point made was that with digital delivery offering unique features from the digital Set top box like Child Lock, Electronic Program Guide, Language choice, Automatic Software Download, etc, MSOs are “prepared” for new addressability platforms.
Another key point that came from the meet was MSO Alliance’s demand that the government should create a level playing field for the cable industry that will allow it to compete with new technologies of television distribution.
Mansukhani said, “Through the MSO Alliance we wish to communicate that the cable industry is today completely geared to take on the competition from various emerging technologies on television distribution. However, we request the government to ensure a level playing field for the cable industry along with other new emerging TV distribution platforms like DTH, which will lead to providing a genuine consumer choice. We believe that in a scenario when the newer technologies are addressable, even the cable delivery should have a law for addressability.”
The other issues that were brought to fore included MSO Alliance supporting the principal objective of the TRAI recommendation to promote and facilitate competition amongst channels, operators and platforms. As competition increases and the consumers have multiple choices, the Alliance agreed that price regulation should gradually be withdrawn.