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FICCI Frames 2013: DAS Phase 2 is a challenge to all M&E stakeholders

While DAS Phase 1 taught a lesson both to policymakers and stakeholders, all panellists agreed that digitisation is the key to growth in the M&E sector

FICCI Frames 2013: DAS Phase 2 is a challenge to all M&E stakeholders

While DAS Phase 1 taught a lesson both to policymakers and stakeholders, all panellists agreed that digitisation is the key to growth in the M&E sector

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Mumbai | March 13, 2013

Day 1 of FICCI Frames 2013 saw a high-powered panel discussion on the recently concluded digitisation in the four metros and the second phase of digitisation that will be rolled out in 38 more cities. While Phase 1 taught a lesson both to policymakers and stakeholders, all panellists agreed that digitisation is the key to growth in the M&E sector.

The panellists included N Parameshwaran, Principal Advisor, TRAI; Sameer Manchanda, Chairman and Managing Director, DEN; Sunil Lulla, MD and CEO, Times Television Network; Raman Karla, Partner and Industry Leader, M&E Practice, IBM Global Business Services; Tarun Katial, CEO, Reliance Broadcast; Man Jit Singh, CEO, Multi Screen Media; and Anuj Gandhi, Group CEO, India Cast. The session was moderated by Vivek Couto, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Media Partners Asia.

The panellists agreed that the real issues that came up during implementation of Phase 1 cannot be solved overnight. Hence Phase 2 of DAS needs all stakeholders to work together.

Sameer Manchanda said, “The question to be asked is did people ever think that digitisation would ever happen in India? The industry has to be ready for a few hiccups. The consumer is going to be the king and is going to have the ultimate choice on what he pays for and what he wants to see.” The industry has to have a base package affordable for the consumers. There is an opportunity to create a pack of regional channels in metros like Mumbai and Delhi instead of focusing on introducing new niche channels.

Man Jit Singh said, “Phase 1 saw digitisation in the four big cities and we took seven months to get it right. Phase 2 now consists of 38 cities and it is scary for broadcasters. Customers who were getting 60 channels now get almost 300 channels. Tiering and Advertising Revenue Per User (ARPU) is incremental to drive the market together by understanding the consumer needs and expectations. The burden of expansion has to be shared by the Local Cable Operator (LCO), Multi System Operator (MSO), broadcaster and the consumer.”

The panel agreed that Phase 2 of DAS would focus first on set-top boxes and packages. “We might probably get some value additions and add on more niche channels which we can discuss during the next FICCI Fames! Content is consumed in multiple platforms through multiple devices by different consumers. Therefore, as an industry we have to work together to create the right revenue models,” commented Anuj Gandhi.

Raman Kalra claimed that the digital eco-system is developing and consumers are willing to pay Rs 200 and more today. The key issue is to know the target customer. “We are living in a connected consumer era. It is not enough to go digital. It is important for the industry to keep a parallel strategy for incremental money upsell,” he said.

Tarun Katial observed, “People make fragmented choices. As a new entrant, we created a unique channel, Prime. We rejigged our channels and that has given us a huge upside profit and ad return.” Katial argued that advertising revenue has to increase for which the broadcast industry must adopt advertising through classic marketing to get a correct drive into the DAS 2 market.

Gandhi suggested channel segmentation. “When we look at the DTH industry today, they have packages rolled up to Rs 500 and people are ready to pay. It is the same situation in the case of regional markets.”

To this, Man Jit Singh added, “With the advent of mobile marketing and unleashing of Internet usage, we are leap-frogging into the mobile and social era. In small markets people sleep by 8 PM, and hence the measurement says we need to spread to LC1 towns.”

Sunil Lulla said, “The current economics are not adequate for the success of Phase 2 of digitisation. There is an urgent need for industry transformation and an effective change in consumer experience. We are sitting at the cusp where widespread and deep digitisation will succeed with consumers, regulators, government and DTH operators working together.”

N Parameshwarn concluded the discussion saying, “The real benefit of digitisation has not yet surfaced. The industry is coming together to correct this limitation. We need to ensure from day 1 that all systems are working and there is a multi-prong approach. Moreover, there is no regulation in the pricing of HD, 3D channels and broadcasters can charge as much as they want for these channels.”

Info@BestMediaInfo.com

Info@BestMediaInfo.com

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