Broadcasters welcome digitalisation of cable TV bill

New Delhi: A day after the Lok Sabha passed a bill to fast-track digitalisation of cable TV, top broadcasters Wednesday said the move will enable India’s TV industry to leapfrog into an advanced digital ecosystem.

“It’s a huge step for the broadcasting industry. It’s an opportunity for us to leapfrog into a technologically advanced ecosystem,” Amit Khanna, chairman, Reliance Entertainment, told reporters here after the second roundtable meeting of CEOs of leading networks. The meeting was organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Khanna, also chairman of CII National Committee on media and entertainment, added that the digitalisation will help curb piracy which is proving a big drain on the broadcast industry.

It’s a very positive step, said Samir Manchanda, chairman and Managing Director, Den Networks.

“The next few years will be great for the media. It brings in the much-needed transparency,” said Manchanda.

The CEOs and representatives of leading TV networks held detailed discussions on implementing the digitalisation of the cable TV and issues relating to content regulation.

The bill for the digitalisation of cable TV was passed by the Lok Sabha Tuesday, with the government assuring cable operators that the proposed move would not harm them.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni underlined that the measure was a major step which would enable digitalisation of the analog TV network and bring India on par with other countries like US, UK, Korea and Taiwan.

The digitisation is expected to boost the subscription revenues for broadcasters as it promises to end hefty carriage fee they pay to cable TV operators.

According to an estimate, carriage and placement fee contribute around 20 percent of the total cost of running a channel. Under the new regime, all satellite channels will be beamed to houses through set-top boxes.

The cable and satellite television industry is expected to be worth Rs 20,000 crore.

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