“DAS Phase I over, but consumers remain untouched”

Ashok Venkatramani, CEO, MCCS takes a reality check on the digitisation process in India & lists out the ground realities for broadcasters & consumers

by Abid Hasan
Published - Mar 1, 2013 7:27 PM Updated: Mar 1, 2013 7:27 PM
“DAS Phase I over, but consumers remain untouched”

The broadcast and cable industry is in a momentous period of transition. Industry experts believe there will be a host of good news to share five years down the line regarding the landmark changes in the industry brought about by the digitisation of cable television.

Ashok Venkatramani, CEO, MCCS feels that the way the entire digitisation process has been designed, it is a win-win situation for everyone – be it the broadcasters, MSOs, LCOs, consumers or the government. “There is something in it for everybody,” he remarked.

According to Venkatramani, one of the most significant issues in the cable and broadcasting industry is the controversy between “larger opportunities versus smaller issues”. “When DAS Phase I was panning out in the four metros, broadcasters were expecting reduction in carriage fees, but it didn’t turn out well; cable operators were expecting more share of the tariff, but that too didn’t turn out well. All these things are important, but the industry players need to move on and look at bigger opportunities,” he said.

He further said, “Even before the digitisation process is completed, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has dropped a bomb by reducing the advertising time in a clock hour with the 10+2 ad cap. It’s a huge thing and will impact revenues. But we need to look at the bigger picture and how things are going to be five years down the line.”

Venkatramani stressed on the need to look at market expansion and bringing in new consumers. “Today consumers have the money and they are willing to pay for the content, hence, we should look for the bigger opportunities,” he added.

Speaking about the ground realities of digitisation, Venkatramani pointed out that while consumers in Delhi and Mumbai have witnessed the taste of digital, Kolkata is only partly digitised and Chennai hasn’t got a whiff of it yet.

“The question arises as to whether the digitisation process has benefited consumers the way they were promised?” he asked.

Ashok Venkatramani was sharing his views during his keynote address at the SatCab Symposium held in Delhi on February 28, 2013.

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