With an increasing number of channels available to Indian audience, the job of Channels managers to build, retain and increase its share of audience is becoming increasingly tougher. The proliferation of Channels -both audience-specific (Children Cartoon) and subject-specific (Sports, Movies) has meant the fragmentation of the already fragmented audience, this makes the task of how-to-get audience, particularly difficult one for television institutions. Because it is a mass audience, the audience tastes are so diffused and so general that you have got to be guessing. You can work off precedents about what’s worked on television before. You can work off whatever smattering sociological information you gleaned from whatever sources. You can let your personal judgments enter into it to some extent - But you never really know. There is no wav to know in advance whether the audience will tune in and stay tuned. The only option available to Channel Managers is to devise risk-reducing strategies. One such strategy is to customise.
This article will discuss the recent technology advances in the areas of compression, disk technologies and associated RAID technologies, editing systems and the impact on the post-production and broadcast markets. It will also dwell on the shifts being seen in the video industry from analog to digital, from analog tape to digital tape, from tape to disk and digital tape formats. Recent advances in the areas of compression, with special emphasis on the brand new MPEG2 professional 4:2:2 profile, and its impact to the news, broadcast, archival and the post-production markets will be discussed. As more and more computer systems are being used in the video industry, the challenge to transport this video information faster (than real time) from one system to another becomes apparent. The various network topologies and technologies such as ATM, FDDI,Fibre Channel, SDH etc., will be positioned.
Addressing a delegation of the Cable Operators Federation of India led by Mrs. Roop Sharma on Feb. 13, 1997, the Union 1 & B Minister Mr. C.M. Ibrahim declared that “ The Broadcast Bill will play an important role in regulating the industry by minimising if not eliminating confusion and chaos caused by unregulated growth”. He however agreed with COFI’s demand that “Cable Operators should be heard and consulted prior to the formulation of the proposed legislation.” The meeting was also attended by Mr. N.P. Nawani I & B Secretary and Mr. K.S. Sarma, Director General, Doordarshan.
DTH services were announced last year with much fanfare but are a non-starter till date due to the confused state of mind of our government. Earlier Doordarshan wanted to take the advantage of this direct to home technology but gave upto after the command was shifted to a new incumbent. All of a sudden it dawned on the authorities that DTH was only for a few and did not fulfill the social objectives of the National Broadcaster. No regulations existed in India that could harm DTH. Taking advantage of the situation and to have the benefit of being the first with their experience in heralding satellite revolution in India, Star TV announced its DTH plans. Hardly had their full-page advertisement appeared in the newspapers that the alarm bells started ringing in the government quarters announcing an apprehension of a similar chaos originating in the skies as it happened on the ground in the case of Cable TV.
First came the channel boom. The skies became overcrowded as more and more transnational broadcasters directed their operations towards this region. Initially all the channels were free-to-air but with the mushrooming of channels and the comparatively low growth of advertising on which the channels were solely dependent forced the broadcasters to go ‘pay’. Making Indian viewers pay for viewing programmes did not prove to be an easy task. As a result pay channels are still struggling to gain a foothold in the country although they have been there since two years.
The boundaries between the entertainment media and communication enterprises are fast breaking down and future shifts in frequency reuse are already on the anvil. The task today is one of the how to move away from “one-to-many” broadcasting to accommodate narrow casting and interactivity for individual households. In this process the core of convergence of communications technologies is ease and extent of reach and access, range and reliability of value added services and of course speed and reduced tariffs of communication flows. Ultimately however, the relevance is in the contents and not in the means of delivery. On these aspects depend both scope and significance of convergence.