The advent of the digital modes of broadcast reception and the conversion of analogue to digital represents a big change for the consumers and business. With digitisation taking off, there has been a significant growth of cable digital. Although the DTH platform has also grown, the cable digital saw almost double the growth as that of DTH. At present, the numbers are also skewed towards cable digital. Now TAM preps the industry of what can be expected in the times ahead.
The switchover in the first phase covering the municipal/ metropolitan areas of Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata was smooth. Chennai, however, is a different story. Though some leakages were observed in a few pockets, the transition from analogue to digital happened really fast. At present, the penetration of the digital mode of broadcast in Mumbai is 93 per cent, while in Delhi it is 97 per cent. The pressure on communication has started influencing other markets as well metros such as Bangalore, which has started looking at digitisation more closely.
There has been an upward trend in the time spent observed in Mumbai after November 1, 2012, though the reach went down slightly. On an overall basis, a stable viewing experience has been observed. In case of Delhi, the kids’ genre has picked up and so has the time spent, which has also increased. Kolkata didn’t experience any blackout. There was also no growth in terms of time spent and consumption both on digital and analogue platforms.
It has also been observed that there are small pockets in different cities which have moved from cable to terrestrial. About 3 per cent of homes in Delhi and about 7 per cent of homes in Mumbai have not yet received set top boxes from cable operators.
What can be expected on the whole
The conversion from analogue to digital mode would lead to a spurt of channel launches in the niche genre. In the initial stages of these launches though, there might be more viewer surfing than actual viewing. Also, the marketing and a strong content strategy would be of high significance for the channels pertaining to niche genre. The network channels would also have an advantage over the individual channels since it would give them an opportunity to cross-pollinate. Also, if a network which has channels spanning over multiple genres would have an advantage over other players owing to different windows to attract audience. Moreover, clear segmentation of the audience might be observed with a maximum of two to three segments of audiences on the television viewing space.
With respect to the genres which would prove to be significant post DAS are the kids genre, which would drive entry to the homes, the sports genre and both the Hindi and the regional general entertainment channels. These three genres would prove to become staple platforms in the television space.
Some ratings prediction
Broad data trends will not change substantially post DAS. The stacking order of channels is also unlikely to see drastic difference. Also, with niche channels gaining significance, they would gain viewership by 5 per cent to 7 per cent. Due to this, there might be a loss of viewership in larger channels.
Steps TAM is taking
Soon after the government notification on DAS, TAM commissioned a series of special DAS Establishment Surveys (DASES) across four metros. These commenced in May 2012, designed as semi-monthly waves and continued through November even after the DAS deadline. DASES is aimed to give an accurate estimate of the digital penetration and will be used to update the DAS universe starting Week 44 of 2012.
In addition to this, the Digital Establishment Survey (DES) would be conducted in December 2012 to get a more stable estimate of digital adoption. TAM would also not be reporting illegal analogue signals. Also, TAM recommend giving incentives in order to cover the lower target groups levels such as SEC C, and SEC DE since they have been observing lower numbers, unlike SEC A and SEC B, which have observed an increase in time spent.
Since the TAM panel is structured to be the representative of the universe, a change in the universe will be reflected in the panel too. For a deeper analysis, there might be an expansion of panel in Mumbai and Delhi.