DEN lends its ears to LCOs' apprehensions

MUMBAI: As India‘s government-mandated cable TV digitisation rolls out, one person who has been feeling threatened is the local cable operator (LCO). To address this concern, DEN Networks, Star India and Dolby in collaboration hosted a road show ‘DAS: Daulat aur Shahrat’. The initiative was an effort to reaffirm the trust and also appreciate the LCOs for their efforts for successful implementation of phase II of digital addressable systems (DAS).

The first set of the roadshows, attended by 50 LCOs, was conducted in Kanpur on 19 August and in Lucknow on 21 August. Hosted by Star India on behalf of DEN in association with Dolby, the road show educated the LCOs about the opportunities created by digitisation. "This was the first initiative where the broadcaster, MSO and LCO all came together to talk about the latest in digitisation," says DEN Networks CEO S.N. Sharma.

The road show was a step towards creating a platform for the various players in the ecosystem. "This was an effort to inform them that digitisation will help them increase proportionate revenue for their services," he adds.

The implementation of DAS across India is a massive undertaking which promises a complete transformation of the Indian media landscape. "This initiative was aimed at DEN’s LCOs, who are the face of the MSO for the subscriber and focused at informing and educating them about the tremendous opportunities that digital cable has to offer," informs Sharma.

The LCOs were also made aware of the potential revenue streams due to a wider and better service offering bought in by digitisation such as multiple TV connections, HD, value added services and broadband.

Digitisation brings with it opportunities even for LCOs says S.N. Sharma

The conference also elaborated on the challenges lying ahead. "Concerted and continuous efforts from stakeholders can make digitisation a grand success in the remaining territories."

To ensure that the transition is more seamless for the subscriber and the LCO, DEN also announced a plethora of schemes on educating the consumer regarding channel packages and filling of package authorisation forms (PAF) before the TRAI deadline of 20 September, 2013.

Speaking on the concerns of the LCOs, Sharma says, "The LCO feels that his livelihood will be affected post implementation of digitisation and channel packaging. We through the road show have informed them of the benefits of digitisation and explained that life will be great post digitisation."

DEN last year conducted a training programme before implementing its digitisation rollout. "That was to make them aware and also address their concerns."

The current roadshow, which involved the broadcaster and also the technology partner Dolby, was well received. "It has given us the confidence to try and explore more such forums in other cities and states."

Though no specific timeline has yet been set, but the MSO is exploring many more such modes of getting the LCOs together and addressing their concerns. "We will spread out across all markets in tier II cities and also those in the phase III of digitisation," he informs.

Clearly, the idea is to have a more joyous ride together on the road to digitisation.

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