Content providers have to find ways to re-sell product

NEW DELHI: The only way content providers can make money is by re-selling their products on different platforms, was the general concensus of the panel, ‘Imagining the Future’.

The panel discussion was part of the India Digital Networks Summit, organised by and Media Partners Asia.

Various speakers felt that with mobiles, IPTV, availability of television over the Internet, DTH and cable, the stress should be to improve the quality of content so that it can be sold and re-sold. Digicable north regional head Anil Malhotra was the moderator at the panel.

Dish TV CEO R C Venkateish said it was clear that different platforms had to grow together and even with DTH, the cable industry had to continue to grow. But he claimed that DTH was growing at a fast pace of almost a million households every month and this would drive the growth of digitisation in the country. Technical innovations will empower the digital consumer.

As far as high definition was concerned, he said that the prices would fall as the demand grows for HD technology. He said small screens like the mobile was suitable only for news and one wanted to see movies or sports on the large screen and the content providers should accordingly plan to monetise their strategies. He expected HD to grow by 12 to 13 per cent over the next few years. He said at present, there were less than ten channels on HD, whereas the number of HD TV homes was much larger.

Around 40 per cent of the households in the country had already gone digital either through DTH or through digital television, he said. This showed that people were more concerned about quality than about the pricing. There was also need for more focused advertising.
Discovery Networks India SVP and GM Rahul Johri said the creator and the distributor have to work together if the industry has to grow. Being a country comprising a sizeable young population, India was changing very fast in both content and technology, but there was need for greater quality in the clutter and chaos. The content will have to be different for mobile and for the TV screen in times to come.

The rates may go up in the short or middle term, but the competition will force the rates to come down. It was only a matter of time before HD becomes the norm all over the country, he added.

Conax head International product marketing Tryggve Arveschoug said India was expected to drive the prices down for the consumer and this may then be followed all over the neighbouring countries. Since content was expensive, it was important to re-sell it across platforms so that the producer gets the money. Portals were now an additional source of revenue, where the consumer and not the provider chose the content. 
Even the prices of set top boxes were falling all over the world, he said, noting that India plays a bigger role all over the world "than we think".

But the trend was to find hybrid solutions like including Internet and TV, though the revenues will continue to come from DTH and DTV. It was unfortunate that many countries stubbornly stuck to analogue, he added.

NDS SVP Sue Taylor said all platforms should work as partners and not competitors. The saleability of broadband was making it easier for TV to sell and this was the most likely hybrid model.

She said affordability was naturally a key stimulant, but quality was equally important. HD was in its infancy but prices were bound to fall, also impacting the prices of TV sets. DVR will be a massive transformational service. TV on mobile had not succeeded to a large extent anywhere.

She said that India and China were the only major markets in Asia for TV and accounted for a large share.

As far as targeting advertising was concerned, this was moving towards the Internet. Targeted advertising was only possible at cable head-ends and therefore can vary from city to city and not consumer to consumer.

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