The rule to digitize cable by June 30th is a wise decision in the long run say the cable operators.
The government, earlier this year had passed an regulation which made it mandatory to convert all the analog cable TV lines into digital. While the move preliminarily appeared only to benefit the Govt. & was opposed, closer inspection of the recommendations by the TRAI have revealed points with mutual benefits to all.
Unlike the earlier scenario, wherein subscribers were forced to choose whole packages of channels even if they did not watch them all, in the new regime, they will be allowed to choose channels on a la carte basis. In other words subscribers will have much better choice at picking only the channels that they want. This will surely bring in price regulation for both the Direct To Home (DTH) & digital cable operators. Additionally, TRAI has mandated a carriage capacity of minimum 500 channels. So no more can your cable operators give the reason ‘No-Capacity’ to deny you your favorite channel.
From cost recovery point of view, Cable TV networks are now free to recover digitization costs from broadcasters through ‘Carriage Fees’. Earlier they were charging the consumers for it. Carriage fees borne by broadcasters are estimated to be around Rs. 4,000 Crores (US$ 752 Million) annually. R C Venkateish, CEO of Dish TV, describes the scenario as a “Win-win situation”. Finally, the lowest rung cable TV operator too has been taken into consideration with TRAI mandating a minimum 35% revenue sharing.
India’s DTH services are witnessing a healthy growth pattern. However, soon they too will face competition from the internet content. As speed, quality & reliability of mobile broadband increases, even mobile phone will become a primary source of accessing entertainment.
Hence such a move seems to have bearings of a long-term strategic thought process. Have you initiated the step to convert your old cable TV line into the new digital one?