New delivery platforms change dynamics of TV biz

MUMBAI: There is a worldwide shift towards broadcasting on advanced, addressable and interactive platforms. While the session Transforming Television: from HDTV, Interactive TV, PVRS, VOD and Beyond brought points and counterpoints on to the table, there was clearly one theme emerging: that adoption of technology, particularly digitalisation in the Indian context, was beneficial for all.

The panel consisted of Bharti Telemedia Director and CEO Ajai Puri, South Asia Turner International India VP and Deputy GM (Distribution and Business operations) Siddharth Jain, NDS VP and Chief Marketing Officer Nigel Smith, Bridge Consulting founder and CEO Aline Rutily, Quantel director of sales (Northern Europe, Eastern Europe, South Africa and India) Richard Craig, Dolby Laboratories country head Pankaj Kedia and Intel Corporation global media and standards strategist Ravi Velhal. 
Smith started off the session with a presentation touching on how new platforms like High Definition (HD) and Digital Video Recording (DVR) had changed dynamics of the business particularly in the US and UK. According to him, a major push is expected in DVR penetration to the tune of 100 per cent of US households and 70 per cent of UK/European households.

Smith remarked, ”Companies that adopted HD in the US grew, while those who delayed in doing so were left behind in the growth path”, proving his point with figures, particularly citing the example of Comcast that lost 575,000 subscribers in one year due to delay in introducing HD TV. In the Indian context, he said, ”DTH will change advertising in India”.

Commenting on future market changes, Smith named addressable advertising (sending adverts targeted to the viewer group), advanced user interfaces and interactivity as game changers.

Demonstrating how technological advances may change TV watching and online interaction, Velhal quipped, “Computing, communication and content are converging”.
Rutily provided the French example, saying that IPTV had caught on quickly in France and that presently one out of four households in France have IPTV after its launch on 2002.  
The Indian digitalisation push found a strong voice in Ajai Puri. According to him, ”Digitalization is the buzzword for India. DTH will make people buy TVs”.

Puri said that the main hurdles currently were high tax and high cost of content. He pointed out the benefits of DTH saying that the medium gives “over 50 per cent revenue to broadcasters even though it (DTH) covers only 15 per cent of the households. If the system becomes addressable, broadcasters will make a lot more money.”

A fine balance was introduced into the discussion by Jain. He pointed out that broadcasters needed to spend significantly to bring forth the technological changes, christening the latest mediums “beyond television”.

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