Cable TV

Chrome DM report on 'Cable Dark' areas

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MUMBAI: The transition from analogue to digital in Phase 3 (all urban areas excluding those that were part of Phase 1 and 2 – municipal corporations/municipalities) has caused certain areas of the country to become ‘cable dark’. 

There are several factors that need to be taken into consideration when understanding why certain states are witnessing a higher amount of cable dark penetration than others. In Uttar Pradesh for example, the majority of cities use DTH, and due to the lack of a dominant MSO, cable penetration is low in this state. 

Gujarat and Punjab are experiencing a more structured approach because they have a dominant player (GTPL and Fastway, respectively). On the other hand, a state such as Maharashtra does not have one defined player; but at the same time has been facing a shortage of set-top boxes – from where the stay has stemmed.

Similarly, governments in the south support cable operators, so in Andhra Pradesh, cable still exists and despite the digitization mandate, cities still receive analog feeds; Tamil Nadu witnesses penetration of Arasu in most cities, but digitization boxes have not reached these areas either. ‘

Alongside this, the size of the state also needs to be taken into account: Mizoram’s cable dark city is one which has a large population, thus resulting in more than half the population beingcable dark.

Another hurdle that cable dark cities face is the fact that cable operators in some dark areas make cable available to consumers during prime timehours, to cater to a TV starved audience, Chrome Data Analytics& Media’s on-ground coverage reports.

It is essential to understand that there is no fixed or systematic pattern according to which cable is out and different states are facing different factors.The state-wise percentage of cable dark population can be seen in the table below:

“Each time a transition takes place, some kind of ‘switch off’ is inevitable - be it an electric transformer replacement in your colony or a human operation. We need to remember that digitization was mooted,  in the first place, to address four major broadcasting issues – taxation, transparency, choice for consumers and the quality of content. So dark outs, irrespective of the reason, should be taken as the minor issue they are when compared to the greater good digitization promises for Indian broadcasting”, says Chrome Data Analytics & Media founder and CEO Pankaj Krishna.

Overall, digitization has brought with it several hurdles that all states must collectively overcome. One must collaboratively focus on the larger picture and be patient to reap the benefits of digitization in the long run.

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