Sony Entertainment Television (SET) India CEO Kunal Dasgupta set
the tone in his keynote address by stressing that broadcasters and
distributors alike need to 'begin listening to what the consumer
is asking for'.
He opined that the set-top box (STB) should not just be a medium
to pass on the same channels that were available earlier, but be
able to deliver more interactive and localised services. This way
it would arouse the interest of the consumer, he said.
Dasgupta lamented the lack of communication between the government,
broadcasters, multisystem operators and the lay public and blamed
it for the chaotic implementation of conditional access in the country.
However, IndusInd Media and Communications vice-chairman R T Hingorani
alleged that it was the combined effort of politicians, broadcasters
and 'instigated consumers' which ensured that CAS' does not take
Predicting that there will be segmentation after CAS is implemented,
Hingorani said that while an estimated 45 per cent of consumers
will opt for the free-to-air (FTA) channels only, there would still
be 40 per cent of the TV viewing population that would opt for the
premium value additions which could be offered via a STB.
Admitting that subscribers' base declaration is still at a measly
20-25 per cent of the actual viewing public, Hingorani said that
measures were being taken to ensure that by next September the figure
rises to 50 per cent.
Later, speaking on revenue generation through conditional access,
NDS Solutions director James Field said that CAS can be used to
leverage the ability to pay by the entire demographic mix of subscribers
- from those with very little disposable income to the high fliers
with all the latest gadgets.
While the higher demographics may well decide to spend more, a
sophisticated billing system can also offer viewing opportunities
tailored to the subscribers' ability to pay.
Swissfone India Ventures president Laveleen Singhal, who also spoke
at the conference, said that internet telephony, global calling
is a revenue spinner that can be added to the services bouquet by
a cable operator. Pay-per-use services, he said, are also possible,
but are hampered by poor implementation of IP legislation allowing
unfair advantage to video libraries and pirated movie and gaming
Singhal pointed out, Web commerce could become a local community
subject with no payment hassles, easy and guaranteed delivery obviating
the need for inventory and display costs.
Order collation could drive purchase efficiencies and help cable
operators save money, he said.