Cable TV Powered by

DEN's Manchanda: Consumers will drive phase III & IV digitisation

MUMBAI: The government mandate to digitise roughly 130 million Indian cable TV homes has been progressing in stops and starts over the past year. But with phase I and phase II  almost complete and billing starting or expected to start soon, industry is now gearing up for the third and final fourth phases. And India's cable cowboy and leading MSO Den Networks' CMD Sameer Manchanda believes that the process is going to be smoother and easier in the smaller towns and hinterland India. 

“It is the consumer who wants digitisation in phase III and phase IV,” said DEN Networks CMD Sameer Manchanda in an interview to CNBC TV 18 today. "Seeing the success of phase I and phase II, it's the consumer in these smaller towns and rural India who are pushing for the digitisation." 

The ministry of information and broadcasting has declared 31 December 2014 as the sunset date for analogue cable TV. And along with that TRAI has been prodding and pushing the rickety cable TV architecture to upgrade quickly.

Manchanda told the business channel that the government mandate combined with the consumer push, will result in digitisation being completed nationally in the next 15 months, giving leeway for a three month delay.

“We are one of the largest players, with a fairly high share of cable TV homes,” said Manchanda during the course of the interview.

90 million of the 130 million TV homes nationally are delivered TV services via cable, he pointed out adding that  “while 20 million homes have already been digitised in phase I and II, around 70-75 million are left to undergo the process in phase III and IV,” he added. 

DEN Networks has seeded around 5 million set top boxes - a 25 per cent share of this 20 million digitised universe - and will need to digitise another eight million analogue homes in phase III and phase IV areas.  “Of course we will be expanding and have raised money for the same. So we will be doing much more in the remaining phases,” he said. 

Though Manchanda acknowledged the competition is coming in from the direct-to-home (DTH) players, he still believes that consumers prefer cable TV over DTH in digitised environment. “In the 42 towns which have so far been digitised, we have seen that 70-72 per cent is cable while 28-30 per cent is DTH, if you leave Chennai out. We do understand there is competition.  But what we have seen in phase I and II - and I believe the same will play out  in phase III and IV -  is that  in a digital universe viewers  are preferring cable TV," he revealed.

Cable, according to Manchanda, in the last one year, has added roughly 85 -90 per cent of the homes that got digitised in the 42 towns.

Addressing the question on the coming in of 4G in India, Manchanda said, “As far as 4G goes, I see cable TV and 4G complementing each other. Digitisation has provided us the bedrock for further change like elsewhere in the world and deliver internet and broadband. So far, India has witnessed speeds like 512 kbps, but here we are talking of speeds of 100 mbps and beyond. And we will be leapfrogging technology like offering ethernet on wire or cable and Docsis 3.0. .We will be launching broadband in March-April. I see a complete revolution coming in with broadband and cable TV companies offering triple play services."

With television here to stay and going to HD and 3D and video getting denser, Manchanda believes the need for fixed bandwidth from consumers at home will rise. "Indian cable TV companies are in an advantageous position as they are the only ones having a wire going into homes - apart from MTNL and BSNL. Hence they will be moving in the way cable companies in the US, Korea have,” Manchanda told the channel. 

Citing Comcast, the largest media and cable company which also offers telecom services as an example, Manchanda said that India is going to be moving in the same direction in the next three to five years. "It would change the way education, video and everything else on the internet is done," he said.

Latest Reads
Karnataka may face day-long cable TV blackout on 24 January

Karnataka cable TV users are likely to face a blackout of TV channels on 24 January if the Karnataka State Cable Television Operators Association goes ahead with its intention to protest against the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) new tariff order. The state has 60 to 70 lakh cable...

Cable TV Local Cable Operators
Den reports lower numbers for third quarter

BENGALURU: Indian cable distribution network and broadband internet services (broadband) provider Den Networks Ltd reported 6 per cent drop in consolidated operating revenue numbers for the quarter ended 31 December 2018 (Q3 2019, quarter or period under review) as compared to the corresponding...

Cable TV Local Cable Operators
Thailand's largest pay-TV operator TrueVisions extends partnership with Synamedia

LONDON and SINGAPORE, 15 January 2019 – Synamedia, the largest independent video software provider, today announced it has extended its seven-year partnership with TrueVisions, Thailand’s leading pay-TV operator.

Cable TV Local Cable Operators
SITI Networks launches My SITI mobile app

SITI Networks Limited (BSE: 532795, NSE: SITINET), an Essel Group company, has launched My SITI mobile app for its customers.

Cable TV Multi System Operators
Pay TV subs show first ever decline globally

MUMBAI: The third quarter of 2018 saw a slight fall in pay TV subscribers, making it the first ever marked changed and probably a point of worry for cable and DTH operators world over. The decrease was by 0.11 million, down by 0.02 per cent, as per informitv’s Multiscreen Index reported by Advanced...

Cable TV Local Cable Operators
Hathway, DEN, Siti reveal packs under new TRAI tariff order

Major DTH players and MSOs have started updating new channel and package pricing as per the new TRAI tariff order. Soon after major broadcasters announced new rates, DPOs are taking swift action making it easier for consumers to choose their desired channels. Last month, TRAI gave an additional one...

Cable TV Local Cable Operators
Maharashtra stares at possible 3-hour cable TV blackout today as LCOs flex muscle

Cable operators across the country, and particularly in Maharashtra, seem to have upped the ante in their confrontation with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) over the new tariff order that will be applicable to the broadcast sector from 29 December 2018. At a protest gathering in...

Cable TV Local Cable Operators
Ortel loss mounts: NCLT orders insolvency process

Ortel Communications Ltd (Ortel) reported a higher loss for the quarter ended 30 September 2018 (Q2 2019, period or quarter under review) as compared to the immediate trailing quarter Q1 2019 and the corresponding year ago quarter Q2 2018. On 27 November 2018, the National Company Law Tribunal,

Cable TV Local Cable Operators
The challenge of DD FreeDish and new tariff order for DPOs

With the emergence of a large number of OTT platforms and cord-cutting globally, the future of pay-TV looks bleak. The talk of the town is how pay-TV industry will manage to survive the crisis. Moreover, the new tariff order (NTO) in India is also set to overhaul the entire ecosystem.

Cable TV Local Cable Operators

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories