On March 29, country’s telecom regulator TRAI released its recommendations on “Sharing of Infrastructure in Television Broadcasting Distribution Sector”. TRAI’s recommendations came after a reference letter was sent to it by the Union Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) in April 2016 directing TRAI to examine the issue related to the sharing of infrastructure. “The sharing of the infrastructure in TV broadcasting distribution sector would not only help in enhancing available distribution network capacities but would also result in reduced Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) and Operative Expenditure (OPEX) for the service providers thereby bringing down the price of broadcasting services to subscribers,” it noted.
TRAI issues Consultation Paper on ‘Introduction of UL (VNO) for Access Service authorization for category B license with districts of a State as a service area’
As per TRAI's quaterly report released In Feb 2017, the number of broadband subscribers increased from 218.27 million at the end of Nov-16 to 236.09 million at the end of Dec-16 with a monthly growth rate of 8.17%.Top five service providers constituted 83.93% market share of the total broadband subscribers at the end of Dec-16. These service providers were Reliance Jio Infocom Ltd (72.16 million), Bharti Airtel (43.56 million), Vodafone (35.02 million), Idea Cellular (27.04 million) and BSNL (20.36 million).
Accounting 11.5% of all advertising, sports sponsorship again posts a bright picture. While advertising grew 11.89% in 2016, sports registered a whopping 19.33% growth. In a cricket-crazy nation, this can be accepted as a natural phenomenon, but the good thing is - other sports are also registering a positive growth in advertising, thanks to the good performances by Indian women players at the Olympics, and government’s special emphasis on indigenous games like kabaddi. The advertisers are now willing to spend big money on major events; mobile phone brands are at the top. The year 2016 saw advertisers spending Rs 6400-cr on sports sponsorship, according to the fourth edition of Sporting Nation in the making, a report jointly published by ESP Properties, GroupM and SportzPower; the study was released on 16th March 2017.
Considered as India’s biggest tax reform since Independence, the path of GST is clear now. The Union Cabinet, on March 20, approved 4 legislations required to implement the goods and services tax (GST), and the Lok Sabha, on March 29, passed these four bills, putting the government on course for the launch of the same on July 1 this year.
“The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I&B) has initiated discussions with the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, on the modalities of setting up a Copyright Board which would oversee strict implementation of IP laws for the entertainment industry, particularly the film sector,” said Ajay Mittal, Secretary, Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, while inaugurating the 18th edition of FICCI FRAMES 2017, in Mumbai on 21st March 2017.
“1.7 crore people have downloaded the Bhim app and India’s digital economy will be worth $1 trillion in the coming years. Today, no change can happen without the involvement of people and hence we want more and more participation from the citizens of the country,” said the special guest of honour Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Law and Justice and Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India, while inaugurating the 3rd Digital India Summit and Award, organised by Times Network in New Delhi on March 23.
BroadcastAsia’s relocation to Suntec Singapore, to be held during 23-25 May 2017, will see the expanded purpose-built exhibition grounds spanning 20,000 square metres across three levels. The extremely popular TV Everywhere! Zone is back for its third showing, and is expected to grow by 50 per cent; it will be a maj or focal point of BroadcastAsia2017. A brand new cluster for virtual reality will also make its debut, rounding up the event’s immersive showcase of game-changing products for the next-generation broadcasting and the latest end-to-end solutions needed to stay ahead of the curve.
Television rating agency the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India survey has revealed the ground realities. According to it, urban India currently has 84 million TV households, while TV-owning homes in rural India stand at 99 million. The survey also shows an 18% jump in TV penetration - from 54% previously to 64%. BARC has updated and aligned its TV universe in line with changes in demographics, TV ownership and connection type, and language preference.
This year, ANGA COM moves into two new exhibition halls and the modern Congress Center North of the Cologne fairgrounds. The Exhibition and Congress for Broadband, Cable & Satellite will take place in Cologne/Germany during 30 May to 1 June 2017. With the relocation ANGA COM reaches a completely new level in terms of appearance, convenience and logistics. Another new feature will be an open air plaza with food trucks. The feedback of the exhibitors to the new concept is fantastic; many of them have increased their stand space. So far, 420 exhibitors have registered for the show.
Finally on 31st March, Digitisation has been declared completed in the country on 31st March 2017. MIB has already issued a notice for all stakeholders to switch off analogue signals and has warned strict action against any violation. It is a different issue that as per the minutes of the latest Task Force Meeting held on 14th March, only 64% of STB seeding has been achieved in Phase-III and IV. This is only the official report based on MIS data received from a few MSOs out of a total of 1150. Also, all these statistics are based on 2011 census.
Video has always been an important medium in the entertainment space, and with the advent of the Internet, its importance has grown manifold. This is the reason why you’ll find YouTube video series thriving while age-old television soaps suffering a dip in their TRPs. Accessibility and retainability make digital video content a hugely popular and widespread medium today, and sport - which is the most consumed commodity in today’s entertainment world - is riding the wave to the fullest.
Broadcasters cannot be allowed to have a free hand on pricings
Private broadcasters often give examples of Taiwan, South Korea and the US which have lifted the government control of tariff regime of television channels, and they call India the last country to still wield a power in deciding what the broadcasters should charge from the viewers. But the private broadcasters ignore the fact that India, unlike these developed countries, has 70 per cent poor population which cannot pay high rates for watching their favourite channels. Our rates should be commensurate with our economy.
Digitisation Phase-III has just ended on 31st January with government’s claim of almost 100 per cent STB seeding. Now only the 4th and final Phase comprising of rest of India, mostly rural, is left. It is expected to have 66 million connections including about 15 million terrestrial connections and 51 million analog cable TV connections to be digitised. Apart from this, about 20 million analogue connections are pending to be digitized from the earlier three phases due to court cases or any other reason. It may be recollected that many far flung areas of Phase- III where it was difficult to connect them with MSO networks in the given time, were also included in the fourth phase.
Net neutrality (NN) is gaining a big momentum amongst the Indian net users. Net neutrality or the principle which seeks equal access to all internet content is vital to stop service providers from misusing the internet traffic or structure for their own profits. There have been multiple consultations on the issue of net neutrality and its related aspects. The ongoing consultation process by the Indian telecom regulator TRAI was initiated pursuant to this reference from the Department of Communication (DoT). The present consultation paper is accordingly being issued in continuation to the Pre-Consultation Paper on Net Neutrality. In view of the complexity of the subject of NN, the Authority decided to undertake a two-stage consultation process.
Today, most of the public funded terrestrial broadcasts in the developed world have become digital. The benefits of digital terrestrial broadcasting over analogue are numerous such as better quality picture and sound, high quality of TV reception, efficient use of frequency spectrum (one DTT transmitter can broadcast multiple TV channels while in analogue, one transmitter broadcasts only one channel), availability of TV channels on mobile phones and other hand-held devices while roaming with no internet connection, and a combination of rich bouquet of SDTV, HDTV, UHTV, mobile TV channels, radio service and other value added services (VAS).
Demonitisation that started on 8th November last year to end corruption, curb fake currency and check terror funding has been redesigned to achieve a cashless society, starting from less-cash, as often said by FM Mr. Arun Jaitley. This has led to sudden and rapid popularity of the digital tools for instant money payment and receipt. Not only private sector but also the government has introduced apps like BHIM to make the idea of a cashless society a reality. Now, people can make digital transactions from a simple mobile based system to the more complicated solutions of net banking, e-wallets, Aadhar based technologies, among others. We are giving a summary of these existing methods for readers to adopt:
The Supreme Court has finally allowed the TRAI to notify its Tariff Order and other regulations which were held up as the broadcasters Star India and Vijay TV have challenged the jurisdiction of the Regulator to regulate the television content and its pricing in the Madras High Court with the plea that they are governed by The Copyright Act. The TRAI had gone to the Apex Court against the status quo order of the Madras High Court on notifying any content pricing. Consequently, TRAI Tariff Order, Interconnection Regulations and Standards of Quality of Service and Consumer Protection Regulations for Addressable Systems have been notified on 03rd March, as we go to print. We shall be giving you a detailed commentry on the Regulations in our subsequent issues.
The Ministry on 27 January permitted all registered MSOs to spread their digital networks pan India irrespective of the area for which they have been licensed. This is nothing but a last bit effort by MIB to achieve success in digitization in Phase-III by 31st January and Phase-IV by 31st March respectively. However, it may be impossible to get the results. Phase III has already been closed by the MIB on 31 January directing all broadcasters and MSOs to switch off analogue signals. A press release was issued on 25 January to this effect.
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