Vertical integration dominates panel discussion

GOA: “The issue of how distribution pipes develop in India is important, just like other parts in the world – do you want to be a dumb pipe or an intelligent pipe?” asked Star India president and general counsel Deepak Jacob “so one of the important things the regulators need to be careful about on cross media ownership for instance is not to discourage vertical integration but encourage the process.”

“This benefits the consumer in the long-term especially if there is effective competition at the last mile; look at the US, where Comcast has ownership of NBC, for instance, or other markets, where vertical integration has helped provide real differentiation for the consumer, “ added Jacob.

“Differentiated and local pipes are important,” said DEN chairman Sameer Manchanda. “Look, we in cable have an enormous advantage in our strength of locality and we need to capitalise on this.”

“In DTH, I don’t see us as just a technology pipe – we curate, package and run a very modern and innovative HD business, providing real estate for lots of content and lots of new services,” said Tata Sky CEO Harit Nagpal.

“I also don’t think the regulators have created too many stumbling blocks; the main issue is that we as an industry should not run to the regulator to solve our problem. It impedes business models. We need to work out our own solutions.”

TRAI principal advisor M Parameswaran concluded: “Look, we at TRAI do not want to be a micro regulator; we want the industry to enable its own business models.”

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