Tuesday 10 May 2011

Growth of Digital Television - A Digital Equalizer!

More often than not the clich├ęd term "Digital Divide" is used to denote lack of inclusion of rural populace in the internet and mobile revolution sweeping India. However what has created the media buzz (or the lack of it) is the uptake of DTH services in India. Hold your breath - rural population is the major growth driver of DTH with rural areas registering over 50% growth rates.
In another interesting move, a major Korean white goods manufacturer has announced to launch a television with an inbuilt DTH decoder, targeted towards the rural market. The target group of the company is approx. 40 million TV households which do not have cable or satellite connection.
As per various analyst reports the number of TV households in India stands at 124 Mn - 130 Mn depending upon the report you like to go with. Out of these 124 Mn - 130 Mn households approx 30 Mn are digital; DTH or addressable cable and the rest are analogue. With 65% of Indian population still residing in rural areas, the opportunity for DTH to grow is huge.
Another factor that will fuel the growth of DTH and the digital cable TV in India is the MIB’s (Ministry of Information and Broadcasting) consideration to sunset analogue cable distribution in India. The deadline to sunset analogue in India has been put at around Year 2015.
This will have far reaching implications on different stakeholders in the entertainment value chain.
For the economy it will mean additional tax collections by way of Service/Luxury/Entertainment taxes, since digital being an addressable system, the number of subscribers cannot be underreported by the cable distributor.
For the broadcaster it means better subscription revenues and less dependence on advertising revenues alone. This will help broadcasters to offer rich content and make investments in producing/acquiring content that matches global production standards.
For small broadcasters who cannot afford premium carriage costs charged by cable distributors for carrying such channels (since analogue cable systems cannot offer channels beyond a certain limit), it opens the window for wider distribution of such channels.
For viewers, it ensures more variety, better picture quality and the ability to choose what they want to view.
Not to mention, this growth will have cascading effect in augmenting ancillary businesses such as pre and post production facilities. This will not only create employment opportunities but also spur the demand of specialized talent in creative and technical areas thus necessitating the need for establishing institutes imparting these skills.
Let’s tune in to the future bulletin…

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