“Even channels packages due to DAS will impact viewership”

Ajay Chacko, President, A+E Networks|TV 18 explains that the bigger impact of digitisation addressability will come from the smaller details

“Even channels packages due to DAS will impact viewership”

As ratings of a digitised era are set to be released on December 19, 2012, TAM Media Research gave a heads up to the industry when it announced that niche genres such as factual entertainment and others have seen an increase of around 5-7 per cent in viewership. TAM Media Research’s CEO LV Krishnan had remarked that since more channels become available and accessible to consumers under Digital Addressable System (DAS), the time spent on certain genres will increase. The problem however is which channels will viewers choose once the detailing of channel selection under DAS, which is choosing a basic tier package or a mid-tier or a premium tier package, comes in play. Ajay Chacko, President, A+E Networks|TV 18 reflects that conversations that the industry is doing at present in this context will make all the difference in the future, and genres such as factual entertainment stand to gain further.

On DAS impact on niche genres:
“At present, genres such as factual entertainment are very small in India and they see changes depending on what individual players set out to achieve for their companies. In fact, for factual entertainment, the launch of History TV18 made all the difference to grow the genre further. So digitisation too stands to impact niche genres and it should grow viewership but we need to take a step back a take a closer look on the on-ground details. A la carte in India is still a digital dream. The basic or base package of 100 channels, which is the must provide, will be very crucial for broadcasters since those channels would be accessible to a larger set of audience.”

On where factual entertainment falls in the new scheme:
“So far, under digital platforms such as direct-to-home, factual entertainment was offered under the mid-tier to premium packs. But under DAS, this has changed. The clause of general entertainment and regional content has impacted conversations in the course of where a channel would fit in, especially in the case of factual entertainment channels, as these channels are in various regional languages such as Tamil, Marathi, Malayalam, Bengali and so on.”

On being in the base pack
“Unlike popular belief that super niche may see higher time spent, a real issue would be connectivity restricted due to the packs they fall in. We have had dialogues with people involved that due to the content, and the thought process of regional content also being a part of the base package, factual entertainment channels that are present in various languages will qualify for base packs. And that is a market reality now. So if you see Den, InCable, Hathway or even a Tata Sky for that matter, History TV18 is in the base pack. The whole logic of channel packaging has essentially helped factual entertainment in a big way.”

On the consequences of this thought process
“For factual entertainment genre and channels such as HistoryTV18 that were still lagging behind in connectivity, the advent of DAS will boost connectivity in metros by 30 per cent. The genre itself will see a spike again. Needless to say that we will also see an upside in carriage/distribution revenue equation, and hence, distribution revenues will grow faster. On the whole, the new package structure, which is now a reality, will redefine genre viewership patterns once again and there is a lot that will change due to this.”

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