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We're looking forward to stability in the industry now: NP Singh

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We're looking forward to stability in the industry now: NP Singh

At the launch of new alien comedy show from Sab TV, ‘Badi Dooooor Se Aaye Hain’, NP Singh, CEO, MSM Group talks to exchange4media about his expectations from the new Government, the ratings debate, IPL, introduction of Broadcaster Abbys at Goafest this year and other important issues. Excerpts:

Are there any special expectations from the new Government for the broadcast industry?
At a very macro scale, we believe that there will be some affirmative decisions taken in the near term. There have been some issues that have been pending and they will get addressed. Specifically, digitisation Phase 3 and Phase 4 need to be addressed. The progress there has gone slow. I firmly believe that the new Government will push that agenda.

What would be your three immediate demands from the new Government?
The first would be a clear road map on digitisation. The growth on the digitisation front has been slow and the results have not been optimum. That needs to be addressed. The second would be quick decision making on key issues, which slow the pace of the industry. The third would be clarity on the ratings front. There should be a clear and robust mechanism to judge viewership which is good for the health of the sector.

Do you think that instances of MIB and TRAI micromanaging the industry will see a wave of change under the new Government?
We are looking at very pragmatic view of issues from the new Government, like ad cap, etc. One thing that needs serious conversation is application of ad cap on live sporting events. We as broadcasters do not have any control on when the breaks will come up. Issues like these will need to be looked at more pragmatically and we need to come up with solutions that will take care of these hurdles through policy decisions. We believe that affirmative decisions will be taken and this should bring good news for the industry as a whole.

Last year, around the same time you withdrew your subscription from TAM. What is your stand now as the ratings debate has again emerged over IPL?
Our stand has not changed. The small sample size does not reflect the actual viewership on ground and, therefore, cannot be considered apt. Reach of the tournament has expanded year over year and IPL remains one of the strongest sports properties in India.

Do you think the online viewership of IPL has fragmented the overall viewership of the tournament between TV and online?
There has been an increase in the online viewership of the tournament, which has helped grow the total viewership of IPL further. I don’t think there has been any fragmentation of the overall viewership.

In January this year, you had mentioned that there will be a lot of challenges for the TV industry, which will be a continuation of 2013? How do you see the scenario after six months?
I was not wrong about that, as we have seen many such issues emerging. What we are looking forward to now is stability in the business environment of the industry. It might sound Utopian, but if there is stability in policy, and if there are affirmative decisions taken by the Government, which enable business, I think some sense of stability will emerge, but it is too early and we will have to wait and see what happens.

How do you rate the introduction of Broadcaster Abbys at Goafest this year?
It is a very good initiative. It is important that we showcase the product that the broadcasters come out with to the entire advertiser fraternity. It is about giving recognition to the creative people who have worked tirelessly to create campaigns. It is a source of encouragement and I welcome it.

Do you think the introduction of this category comes quite late in the day?
I am a firm believer that it is never too late.  Whenever you start, you do it well and it will be received wholeheartedly.

Do you have a personal favourite among the nominees from the MSM Group?
Everyone is my favourite.

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