It is a well known fact that DTH operators grew manifold in their business at the cost of cable operators. All the government policies have been in favour of DTH operators and big groups, while the voices of the local cable operators were never heard despite so many protests and presentations. Now the table seems to be turning, as per a new report by ICICI Securities, free-to-air (FTA) channels have been registering a strong growth in TV viewership, since rating agency Broadcast Audience Research Council (Barc) started reporting rural data in late 2015, leading to increased interest from advertisers.
On 7 July 2017, the telecom regulator TRAI issued a press release seeking proposals from interested entities to be a part of a pilot to establish nationwide, ‘pay-as-you-go PDOs’ (Public Data Offices); these ’pay-as-you-go’ PDOs will offer sachet-sized data packs, providing broadband connectivity to price-sensitive consumers at a fraction of the rates ranging from Rs 2 to Rs 20. The service will be akin to the PCOs which were in use until the emergence of cell-phones and cheap call rates. Cable Operators are also very familiar with providing broadband on CAT-5 Cables to their consumers. Only this time it is WiFi.
The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) has a new Minister, Ms Smriti Irani, a veteran from the television industry who understands the sector well. Let’s hope she initiates some innovative steps to make the environment in the Industry better. At present, in spite of our country doing well on the economic front, our industry is mired with court battles between the stakeholders and the regulator TRAI holding up the regulatory process for which efforts were on since 2003.
The current Chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) R.S. Sharma is a pro-active man who has been pushing many changes; he had endeavoured and also succeeded on many occasions to bring in several much needed reforms to keep the regulatory authority in sync with time. In his latest such endeavour to achieve more transparency between the consumers and the service providers, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) launched three new apps to rate quality of services, speed and performance. All three apps are available on Google Play for download. The three new apps are: Mycall app, MySpeed app and 'Do not disturb (DND 2.0)'.
Finally after 14 long years, the Goods & Services Tax (GST) has come into force on July 1. To mark the special occasion, the Parliament was all decked with coulourful lights, and it was the third time that Parliamentarians gathered there at midnight. Last time, it was 1997 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Independence Day. But the first such time is more famously recorded when the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru made his famous “tryst with destiny” midnight speech almost seventy years ago.
A total of 37 MSO licenses have been issued by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) between 9 May and 11 June. The ministry had cancelled 13 MSO registrations which had incomplete applications and missing documents. Karnataka got half a dozen licenses, followed by Andhra Pradesh and Telangana (5 each). Tamil Nadu got two licences, while four MSOs from Odisha and three from Gujarat were also issued licences. The rest of the registrations were issued to MSOs from states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal and Delhi.
Of the 19 markets covered, while smartphone usage is a key driver for data traffic growth, fixed broadband still accounted for the largest share of data traffic in 2016. With much consumption still happening within the home rather than on the move, fixed broadband will continue to account for the largest share of data traffic until 2020, when smartphones will exceed fixed broadband for the first time.
Digital transformation will continue to drive IP traffic in India with the projected increase in internet users from 373 million in 2016 to 829 million or 59% of the Indian population in 2021, according to Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Complete Forecast. In addition, there will be 2.0 billion networked devices in 2021, up from 1.4 billion in 2016 and the overall IP traffic is expected to grow 4-fold from 2016 to 2021, a compound annual growth rate of 30% and reach 6.5 Exabytes of data per month in 2021, up from 1.7 Exabytes per month in 2016.
Putting India in the league of powerful countries in terms of space research and rocket launches, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), on 5th June, launched country’s most powerful and heaviest rocket, sending a communications satellite into orbit in a successful debut flight.
When Aadhaar was introduced, it was declared as an optional document. But slowly, the government realized its potency to fight corruption and crime. Hence, due to its practical benefits, Aadhaar has now become the most important document for every Indian, more important than your PAN. The Supreme Court has already put its stamp on the validity of Aadhaar.
Although Digitisation of Cable TV networks all across the nation has been declared completed by I&B Ministry, reports received from different parts of the country say something else. Due to lack of infrastructure as well as lack of interest shown by large MSOs to invest in rural areas, millions of consumers are still left with analogue signals or NO signals at all. Even DTH has not reached in these far off places, or these consumers find DTH costlier than cable.
When the clock struck 12 on 30th June 2017 midnight, India entered an era of financial revolution introducing a single tax regime called the ‘Goods and Services Tax’. The event was celebrated in the Parliament with all the fanfare with the President, Sh Pranab Mukherjee ringing the bell to usher in the historic economic reform in the country.
Sony Pictures Networks India has launched children’s entertainment channel Sony Yay! on 18th April. Targeted at the 2-14 age group, the new channel is available in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu languages. Leena Lele Dutta, Business Head, Sony YAY!, spoke to Cable Quest about the newly launched channel and the future growth of the kids entertainment segment. Excerpts from the interview:
To mark 20 years of its existence, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) organized a two-day Seminar on 'Digital Broadcasting in India: Way Forward' on 4th & 5th May 2017 in New Delhi. The Seminar was inaugurated by the country’s Minister for Information & Broadcasting, M Venkaiah Naidu.
In May 2017, two seminars on almost similar topics were held; one on ‘Digital Broadcasting in India - Way Forward’ by the telecom regulator TRAI (on the occasion of TRAI completing 20 years) in New Delhi, and the other by TDSAT in Chandigarh on ‘Digitization in Broadcasting & Cable Services: Achievements, Issues & the Way Forward’.
Those, raising their voice in support of single window process for speedy approval of a project, know very well the importance of it, as they do not want to waste their energy, money and time in running department to department for a job to be done. IoT or Internet of Things is like this single window process, a tool to offer a seamless lifestyle where a user can control his almost every task, no matter where that task is based, with a click of a button while being anywhere in the world.
A business-friendly environment is a pre-requisite for the growth of a nation. A favorable business environment makes a country a favorite business destination. It not only leads to employment generation but also helps in the growth and development of an economy. The Government of India has launched an ambitious program of regulatory reforms aimed at making it easier to do business in India. The program aims to identify the bottlenecks and remove them to create a more business-friendly environment. The efforts have yielded some results with India improving four places on the World Banks’ Doing Business index rankings in 2017.
Is tradition TV viewing declining? Are advertisers losing interest in TV? These are disturbing questions for broadcasters and all those connected to the industry. The drop in TV viewing caused by the advent of new media technologies like OTT (Over the Top) and IoT and faster internet speed is forcing broadcasters to become innovative and supply what new-age consumers want – choice, convenience and privacy. Hence, they are launching their new OTT platform s and partnering with content providers and technology suppliers to retain their customers and win new audiences.
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