MSOs should focus on basic packaging

GOA: Multi-system operators (MSOs) should concentrate on basic packaging and consumers will be ready to pay only if they get good packages, according to Hathway Cable & Datacom MD & CEO K Jayaraman.

The stakeholders were working only for short-to-medium term gains because of the approaching deadline whereas digitisation should be looked at with a longer vision in mind, cautioned Jayaraman.

There were some things that needed to be sorted out like the share of the local cable operator (LCO), the security of the LCO, consumer pricing, and ascertaining whether many consumers will opt for a la carte or just take bouquets -- either the basic service tier or the mix bouquet.

Jayaraman said MSOs can bundle the pricing for broadband and cable along with value-added services, giving them an edge over DTH service providers.

Speakers at Indian Digital Operators Summit (IDOS) 2012 have sought the creation of a congenial ecosystem for successful implementation of digitisation.

Ankur Jain, Managing Director of JAINHITS, the head-end-in-the-sky venture of Noida Software Technology Park Limited (NSTPL), said what worked for the consumer was the end result of what he was getting, the cost of operations, and simplicity or complexities involved. Referring to LCOs, he said they would survive as they would either become small MSOs or customer service centres.

NDS Senior Director - Asia Pacific Business Development Ajmair Heer said MSOs and LCOs will have to create value-added services to compete with DTH, but the first hurdle was changing the mindset of the consumer.

SES Senior Vice President (Commercial, Asia Pacific and Middle East) Deeepak Mathur said additional capacity will help give customised content. But key infrastructure such as satellite capacity would be needed. He said SES was working to create a set top box (STB) that could help bring content on both tablets and television sets.

In a separate session on the life of a cable operator in the wake of DAS, ACT President P Kailasam and an MSO owner Shashikant, both from Bangalore, said they were already preparing for the second phase. Both are LCOs turned MSOs and therefore, they said they understood the needs of the consumer as well as the LCOs. It was clear that the LCO cannot be eliminated in the value chain.

They also claimed that they had acquired 35 to 40 per cent of the digital STBs needed by them.

Asked about the higher rates in view of the taxes, they said these taxes will have to be passed on to the consumer but the consumer will pay if more services are provided. Both agreed that cable would continue to have an edge over DTH.

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