Media & Resources

On Track for a Digital India

New Delhi, 23 March 2012 – This week's CASBAA India Forum mapped out the direction of the multichannel TV industry across India's market of 120 million cable TV subscribers. Almost 200 delegates, speakers and media were on hand to discuss the most important opportunities emerging from the ongoing digital deployments.

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"The Forum 2012 provided the ideal platform to monitor the progress of the impending deadlines and to review the overall health of the multichannel-TV industry in India," said Simon Twiston Davies, CEO, CASBAA. "India is at a crossroads and there are real opportunities that will be created once the first stage of the digitisation process is completed in the next 18 months."

Mr. Uday Kumar Varma, Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting delivered the opening keynote at the CASBAA Forum. As the fragmented cable TV industry "irrevocably" moves towards digitisation, Secretary Varma foresees the long-term benefits as transforming both the quality and quantity of television content and delivery across India.

However, Ashok Mansukhani, President of national backbone provider's association, the MSO Alliance, said that in order to meet the ambitious government deadlines, the regulatory "rules" and tariff rates must be clearly articulated and enforced by the government to avoid "chaos". Certainly, the cable TV sector is committed to the task: "If the government is ready with the answers, the industry is ready to meet the deadlines."

Several speakers emphasized that another potential hurdle on the road to digitisation is the availability of sufficient digital set-top-boxes. However, Secretary Varma remains confident the industry can meet Indian consumer demand with 2.5 million set-top boxes in stock with a further seven million on order.

Indeed, the outlook is positive said Narayan Rao, President, News Broadcasters Association, and Exec Vice Chairman at broadcaster NDTV, who believes digitisation will provide a huge potential for the entire industry in the form of new revenues - "Digital subscription TV revenues are expected to ease some of the pain of carriage fees for broadcasters and should be a game changer in the long run."

As digital distribution becomes the norm, advertisers will also benefit from the increased shelf space as well as data accessibility with more accountability and creativity, said Vikram Sakhuja, the CEO of GroupM South Asia during a final Keynote

Sakhuja noted that digitisation will provide cable TV operators with a vast and sophisticated database of information on the viewing habits of consumers, "the holy grail of targeting" with immense monetisation possibilities. "If there are just four million digital TV homes to begin with, you will find that advertisers will be beat a path to your doors."

"If successful, the massive Indian digital conversion will be the most aggressive digital cable TV roll-out in the world," added Twiston Davies.

The CASBAA India Forum 2012 was staged on March 20 at the Shangri-La hotel, New Delhi. Additional speakers included government representative Supriya Sahu (Joint Secretary, Broadcast & Policy, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting) along with Sanjay Behl (CEO - DTH & IPTV and Group Head - Brand & Marketing, Reliance Communications), Paul Brown-Kenyon (CEO, MEASAT), Tom Choi (CEO, ABS), Sabrina Cubbon (VP, Sales & Marketing, AsiaSat), Rajiv Khattar (General Secretary, DTH Association of India), Anil Khera (CEO, Videocon d2h), Sunil Lulla (VP, IBF; MD & CEO, Times TV Network), Ravi Mansukhani (MD, IMCL), Deepak Mathur (SVP, Sales, Asia Pacific and the Middle East, SES), Harit Nagpal (MD & CEO, Tata Sky), Vikram Sakhuja (CEO, GroupM South Asia), Roop Sharma, (President, COFI), RC Venkateish (CEO, Dish TV) and Andrew Wallace (Chief Commercial Officer, Eutelsat).

The CASBAA India Forum 2012 was generously supported by Forum Partner STAR India and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and sponsors ABS, AsiaSat, Cisco, Eutelsat, MEASAT, SES and TRACE Sports.

For more information, please visit http://www.casbaa.com/events/events-calendar/details/305-casbaa-india-industry-forum.

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About CASBAA – www.casbaa.com

Established in 1991, CASBAA is the Association for digital pay TV, content, platforms, advertising and video delivery across Asia for the past two decades. Spanning 17 geographic markets, CASBAA and its Members reach over 420 million connections through a footprint ranging from China to Australasia, Japan to Pakistan. The CASBAA mission is to promote the growth of pay TV and video content through industry information, networking exchanges and events while promoting global best practices. To view the full list of CASBAA members please visit here.

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