The channels would be available on a la carte basis also, a company
release says, without providing any details.
What this announcement appears to also indicate is that Zee is telling
the market that all its channels will be offered in the pay mode.
That may well rule out any Zee channel being pushed into the basic
free-to-air (FTA) tier post-CAS.
The Network has also announced that out of the total revenues
generated from the consumer price, upto 50 per cent will be shared
with the MSOs and cable operators.
Siticable Network Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Zee has
already become the first company to obtain permission from the information
& broadcasting ministry to launch its digital HITS for distributing
pay TV signals under the CAS environment.
HITS consists of the downlinking of all pay channels, their re-encryption
in a common CAS standard and uplinking of this beam. This would
enable the MSO or the cable operator to receive all pay channels
from a single dish resulting in low capital expenditure at his end.
Further, the consumer would need a single set top box for receiving
all the pay channels rather than multiple boxes if each broadcaster
delivers to home in individual encryption standard.
Siticable plans to offer its services from May 2003 and has signed
an agreement with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for
providing the satellite segment services. Implementation of HITS
will ensure timely roll out of CAS in the four metros and provide
the platform to roll out CAS on a nationwide basis, the release
Zee group CMD Subhash Chandra was quoted as saying: "This
is going to redefine (the) cable TV distribution business in the
country. Everyone in the value chain - broadcasters, MSOs, cable
operators and viewers - will benefit from our HITS model."
"The Zee Turner bouquet will be priced at Rs 55, which is going
to be the maximum retail price. 50 per cent of this consumer price
would be retained by the distribution chain, which will include
MSOs and cable operators. The cable operators may also pass on some
percentage out of Rs 55 to the viewers, if they want.
"At Zee, we remain positive about our ability to convert the emerging
opportunities into operating profits, especially with CAS now becoming
a reality. The company is pursuing with determination its target
of driving growth and shareholder value by capitalising on this
Zee believes that implementation of CAS, for which the I&B
ministry has set a 14 July deadline, will result in a dramatic shift
in the way revenues are distributed between various players in the
television broadcasting value chain. Broadcasters would be able
to capture 40 per cent of the total consumer spend on television
(the company estimates it approximately Rs 80 billion), as against
the present 8-10 per cent. MSOs would get distribution margin from
broadcasters ranging between 20-25 per cent, while cable operators
would get a FTA fees and delivery margins from pay channels ranging
between 25-30 per cent.
"We are happy that CAS will bring transparency into the television
distribution system, and viewers would be able to pick and choose
channels they want. Viewers would also be able to enjoy world class
value added services like pay-per-view and video-on-demand besides
Internet services through the digital set top boxes," Chandra said.
"As a company Zee Telefilms Limited will capture additional
revenues at Siticable level as it operates HITS as an MSO, which
other broadcasters may not be able to capture," Chandra concludes.