Cable industry gears up to meet digitisation deadline

Digitisation of cable television would lead to better quality viewing and revenues, but the transition won’t be an easy one, say industry leaders

e4m by Abid Hasan
Published: Feb 27, 2012 9:02 AM  | 2 min read
Cable industry gears up to meet digitisation deadline

Cable numbers were strong and with the growing demands of the viewers, the industry needed to grow in every aspect – be it technology, profit or quality – to keep up with this growing demand and retain customer trust. This was Anil Kumar Rastogi’s observation.

Rastogi, President, All India Aavishkar Dish Antena Sangh, further said though the cable television industry in India was 22 years old, it was still not mature enough. “We need to update ourselves and work together to meet the December 31 2014 digitisation deadline, when there will be cable set top boxes in every home in the country,” he added.

Uday Shankar, CEO, STAR India, added that there were 40 million digital home satellites. He further stressed that the Legislation had to fight the monopoly of the digital sector. While sharing more on digitalisation, Shankar said, “The transition is not as easy as from landline to mobile phones. With digitalisation process underway, the cable industry will have to push more to compete.”

“Today a regional channel is generating more revenues. About Rs 600 crore revenue is generated in Mumbai and Delhi through local ads every year. Hence, digitalisation is a great opportunity,” Shankar added.

Supriya Sahu, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, remarked that cable operators were an important part of our lives and added that digitalisation would improve the quality of viewing. “We will need 60-100 million set top boxes. In the first slot, we will introduce 10 million boxes to begin our digitalisation initiative,” she added.

Sharing about what the government was doing, she said, “A task force is being set up by the I&B Ministry and there will be representative in every centre who will be reporting to the Ministry. We will conduct meetings every 15 days to review the progress.”

Sahu further said that the Ministry was building the capacity of cable operators and planned to use social media as well as set up help line numbers to inform people about the digitalisation drive. “The Ministry is also gearing to come up with a communication campaign and an exclusive website to inform people,” she added.

The speakers were addressing the SATCAB symposium, held in New Delhi on February 25, 2012.

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