swings towards private broadcasters on DTH?
(Posted on 6 June 2001, 8:30 pm)
Is information and broadcasting minister Sushma Swaraj listening
to the pleas of wannabe players that the country should not take
the open architecture route on the DTH television front? (All
broadcasters have been unanimous that this would make DTH a non-starter.)
If one goes by statements being attributed to her, it appears
as though she is, though she might well be playing to the gallery
in order to keep the groaners at bay.
A local business daily has her reportedly telling reporters
that that there was no technology which allowed a set-top box
to access any number of DTH services. "At most, two DTH services
can be accessed," she had said.
Swaraj, reportedly, made these statements after being taken
on a tour of the News Corp owned UK DTH service BSKyB's facilities
in England. Swaraj had paid a visit to Cannes to promote Indian
cinema as leader of an official delegation to the film festival
there. She reportedly had a stopover in Britain.
If the statements being attributed to her are true and they
do get translated into changes in what are being seen as draconian
DTH regulations, some private broadcasters may go ahead with their
DTH plans which are in cold storage now. Among them: Zee TV, Star,
Sterling Group, and Modi Entertainment.
A senior industry official, however, was not very optimistic
about the statements from Ms Swaraj. He pointed out that no private
broadcaster has submitted a DTH proposal to the government till
And secondly, he added that DTH has currently been relegated
to the backburner by both private broadcasters and the government.
"The convergence bill (it is likely to be tabled in parliament
during the monsoon session) is what the focus is on currently.
Circa 2002 is when we will see any action on DTH. And the only
serious player I see is VSNL. Being a telecom company and government
owned, it is not impacted by the restrictions laid down for broadcasters
in the DTH regulations.."
Click for more Headlines