Technology

Cas paves way for consolidation















MUMBAI: The complexion of the cable TV industry is fast changing. Cas (conditional access system) is paving the way for consolidation as cable operators need to find money to subsidise set-top boxes (STBs), set up a digital system, and build a proper service network.


The might of the three big multi-system operators (MSOs) is prevailing with the weaker players tumbling down under in the markets opened for Cas barely a month ago. Delhi has already gone that way with Home Cable Network, Spectranet, Satellite Channels, Sanjay Cable Network and Star Broadband Services aligning with Hinduja-owned Incablenet, Hathway Cable & Datacom or Zee Group‘s Wire & Wireless India Ltd (WWIL).

 

Soon Mumbai‘s Cas subscribers will also get shared between these three MSOs. Raja Nadar, an independent cable operator, says his JPR Network will surrender its independent status and partner with an MSO by the end of this month. Though he has seeded 5,000 STBs, he is struggling to fund new arrivals and is losing subscribers to WWIL. "There is no business model left for us. We can‘t raise debt and even if we somehow do, we can‘t recover revenues large enough from our digital subscribers to work out a repayment schedule," he says.


Cas in Delhi and Mumbai is becoming a three-MSO battle. "That‘s the record for everybody to see. That‘s the reality. There were 14 independent headends in Delhi who had shown interest to operate but not one could launch. In Mumbai, it is the same story," says the head of a leading MSO on request of anonymity.


Making the ground tough is the fact that digitalisation is coming cheap in India. Cable operators are offering a subsidy of Rs 1000-1500 per STB while average revenue per user (ARPU) is set to fall with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) capping a la carte pay channels at Rs 5. The revenue share is also regulated with broadcasters taking away 45 per cent while 30 per cent stays with the MSOs and 25 per cent with the local cable operators.

 

"Digital cable is a game for those who have deep pockets. Cable operators will not only have to subsidise the boxes but the service as well," says WWIL managing director Jagjit Singh Kohli.


If Kolkata has not seen enough of bulldozing, it is because there is not much of demand for STBs. But Sristi has crumbled down with WWIL and Manthan sharing the spoils. Cablecom is tottering but has survived.


As STBs pick up in Kolkata, Incablenet and Hathway will look at entering the market. This will pave the way for further consolidation as penetration will mean financing more boxes. Manthan has already raised a debt of Rs 100 million from individuals and is looking at another Rs 200 million as way of bank financing.


The need for pumping in big money will be larger as Cas spreads. In the initial phase, Hathway is arranging for a Rs 1 billion debt while WWIL wants to pump in Rs 7.14 billion over two years with a plan also to acquire last mile of cable operators.


What can be disturbing is that after the initial euphoria, the demand for boxes seems to be already slowing when we have just crossed 400000 in a Cas market which has over 1.5 million cable and satellite homes. "If this trend is true, it should be a matter of concern for all the stakeholders except the local cable operators," says Zee Turner CEO Arun Poddar. In the Cas areas, local cable operators are allowed to pocket the entire Rs 77 they collect from subscribers for the free-to-air (FTA) channels.


With not as many boxes moving, broadcasters are particularly worried as they were forced to drop the rates of their pay channels. The sector regulator has chalked out a policy that makes business sense only on high volumes. "We will need higher volumes to make up for the pricing policy prescribed by Trai. Besides, the boxes are not yet entirely synchronised with the subscriber management system that would register what channels are subscribed by the consumers. The whole project will depend on how fast and effective SMS gets activised," says Poddar.


A surge in demand for the boxes is expected before the ICC World Cup starts in March. Besides, marketing campaigns will have to be launched promoting digitalisation. "MSOs will have to start marketing the boxes more aggressively. Broadcasters can also launch joint campaigns with them," says SET Discovery president Anuj Gandhi.


Nobody knows how the market will finally emerge. But the trend is clear: smaller MSOs in the Cas areas will find it difficult to subsidise the boxes and will need to take support of the bigger ones.


"Consolidation can start with Cas and spread out in other areas. In many non Cas places, we are also seeing consolidation because of fear of losing subscribers to direct-to-home operators," says the head of a MSO.

 

Latest Reads

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/01/18/shemaroo.jpg?itok=HA92023K
Shemaroo Bhakti App Acts as a Devotees Guide for Kumbh Mela 2019

Shemaroo Entertainment Limited, has curated a special section on Shemaroo Bhakti App for the devotees going to Kumbh Mela.

Technology Software Applications
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/01/09/truecaller.jpg?itok=TzsguYab
Messaging Gets Smarter with Classification, Smart Notification and Backup Features for Truecaller Users

Truecaller introduces three new smart updates called ‘SMS Classification’, ’Smart Notification’ and ‘Messages Backup’ to its existing Messaging Inbox feature, to enhance the SMS messaging experience for all Android users.

Technology Software Applications
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/01/07/ms.jpg?itok=o8sdWF27
Prepare for Microsoft MCSA, MCSE certifications with actual exam dumps

To become a valuable professional candidate, you need to possess up-to-date skills and keep pace with the constantly developing world of IT.

Technology Software Applications
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/01/07/P%26G.jpg?itok=fWndM1I-
P&G rolls out innovative, connected products at CES 2019

Can an FMCG company go the connected product route too?. Well the Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble obviously believes that's the way to go. At a press conference today, the global major unveiled six products at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas during CES 2019.

Technology ces
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/01/07/ces.jpg?itok=ZuVLQRNO
Consumer Electronics Show 2019: A ringside view

CES. Billed as the world’s largest consumer electronics show which brings in about 180,000 visitors who queue up and walk miles visiting 4,000 plus exhibitors who are showing  off the latest in tech over 2.5 million square feet of exhibition space.

Technology ces
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/01/04/Synamedia.jpg?itok=-gsubF80
Synamedia makes CES debut, offering pay-TV providers frictionless cloud migration strategies, new revenue opportunities

Synamedia, the largest independent video software provider, will bring its newest solutions to CES® 2019, illustrating how pay-TV providers can migrate to the cloud at their own pace, and seamlessly. The company also unveiled new security software that combats the rapid rise in account sharing...

Technology ces
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/01/03/web.jpg?itok=BldnOoXa
Adapt My Web: making the web accessible to all

There are currently more than 600 million active websites in France.

Technology ces
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/01/03/jenax.jpg?itok=ETVd5Wyl
Jenax presents revolutionized ways to connect human body to iot powered by the first true flexible battery at CES 2019

Jenax, an inventor and a manufacturer of flexible and fast-charging lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, today announced that the company will present how its award-winning J.Flex

Technology ces
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/01/03/cte.jpg?itok=3_UZQ5Vm
Consumers Expect to be Riding Hyperloops and Owning Home Robots in 2030 According to Survey by CITE Research/Dassault Systèmes

Dassault Systèmes (Euronext Paris: #13065, DSY.PA) today revealed that consumers expect that cities in 2030 will be filled with technology that improves overall quality of life, delivers socially-conscious benefits and personalizes experiences.

Technology ces

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories