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TV industry looking to technology for bail out

17-April-2002
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TV industry looking to technology for bail out

Vinod Behl

In the post WTO and digital era the television industry is looking at new technology as the saviour to help tide over several problems, which impact its future growth. This emerged as a major issue at the recent Indian Television Academy seminar, 'On Television' in Mumbai.

Anil Baijal, additional secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said that, with digitalisation becoming the order of the day, various modes of transmission like DTH, DTT, webcasting, satellite radio will decide the future of broadcasting industry. Baijal advised that like several countries, which have set 2008-12 as the deadline to fully introduce the new technology, we must follow a deadline in this regard. He also cautioned that keeping in view the high cost factor, we must follow financially viable model. On the convergence front, he said that with the choice between broadcasting and telephony as carrier, TV industry has to look for multimedia alliances for convergence.

Rajiv Vyas, President IncableNet made a strong case for introducing Conditional Access System (CAS) technology to end what he described as exploitation by broadcasters who are making all the money at the cost of MSOs and cable operators, while viewers end up paying more money. He advocated that CAS is the best solution to ensure that viewers pay for only those pay channels which they want to watch.

Amit Khanna, president, Film Producers Guild differed with Vyas saying that CAS is only a temporary solution. "On the technological front, we're at the crossroads. The whole problem is of cable access. And this can be best sorted out if the warring factions of broadcasters, MSOs and cable operators close their ranks".

Ashok Mansukhani, Executive VP, Corporate Services, IncableNet brought to the fare the issue of government's non-seriousness in introducing new technology. He alleged that the DTH Policy is designed to ensure that no one enters it at least for the time being.

Kunal Das Gupta, CEO Sony Entertainment Television said that addressability of CAS requires lot of investment and nobody wants to bell the cat. "I was a member of the official committee on CAS. And I can tell you that the government simply does not want to take it up fearing that in case of failure, it will get bad name," he said.

Baijal however countered Das Gupta's remark saying that technology is the key to future growth of TV and the government, which has mandated CAS, is committed to implement it.

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