Television

CAS deadline will be met, say major players; LMOs refuse to play ball

MUMBAI: CAS on schedule!

This was the common message delivered by broadcasters and MSO (multi-system operators) representatives after the first meeting today of the recently constituted 16-member conditional access system (CAS) implementation committee today.

The meeting, which was held at Mumbai's Doordarshan Kendra, however saw the last mile operators and their representatives on the panel striking a contrary stance.

One definitive that came out of the meeting though was that the pre-CAS "honeymoon" offer of Rs 72 (plus taxes) for television channels in the four metros is off. The proposal can now be stated as officially scrapped.

I&B ministry additional secretary Vijay Singh was one of the first to come out of the three-hour plus meeting. Singh said: "In today's meeting, we discussed several issues such as pricing of the pay channels and availability of set top boxes (STBs). The MSOs have informed us that they are in a state of readiness with the headends and the STBs in place. The broadcasters and MSOs have assured us that they will be ready with the pricing and commission structure before the next meeting on 14 August." The next meeting is scheduled to be held in Delhi.

When asked about the confusion that still surrounds CAS, Singh emphasised: "Things were never chaotic . The broadcasters and MSOs have old existing relationships and they have assured us that they will sort out the contentious issues and work hand in hand." When questioned about the fears expressed by the smaller cable operators, Singh feigned ignorance and said: "We are not aware of any apprehensions whatsoever. Even if there are any, it will be taken care of."

Speaking about the monthly cable rates of Rs 72 per month charges for free to air channels, Singh stated that the CAS task force had finalised these rates long back and there wouldn't be any review at this point of time. "Even if we reconsider this, it will be much later," Singh said.

Zee Telefilms CMD Subhash Chandra, Star India CEO Peter Mukerjea, Sony Entertainment Television India CEO Kunal Dasgupta and Living Media TV Today CEO G Krishnan were among the broadcasters present at today's meeting.

Zee's Chandra said: "Everything is on schedule. We are working together with the MSOs and cable operators. All the stakeholders have decided that we shall undertake implementation in a way that is best suited to protect consumer interests."

According to Mukerjea, "Some progress has certainly been made. Once we resolve issues with penetration, number of households and (revenue share) margins, we should be there."

LMOs SAY WILL FIGHT TO PROTECT INTERESTS

Shiv Sena Vibhag Pramukh and party spokesperson on the issue of the implementation of CAS in Mumbai Anil Parab however was not so optimistic. "There hasn't been any improvement in the situation. In today's meeting, I made it clear right at the outset itself that the implementation process is not being undertaken in a way that is in favour of the cable operators as well as the consumers. I asked the ministry officials to allay our concerns first before talking about the state of readiness." .

Parab also added that he provided documentary evidence that the broadcasters' strategy to declare bouquet rates won't offer any substantial benefit to the consumers post CAS. "If the broadcasters continue to push bouquets even post CAS, then we are much better off today then in the future," Parab added.

Speaking on behalf of the cable operators, Parab said: "The cable operators will not allow any technology that will be detrimental to their interests. I have briefed the ministry officials about the plight of the small cable operators and they have given assurances that they will look into the matter and come up with solutions within eight days. However, I feel that the ministry officials are confused and unclear."

Parab reiterated that the government officials couldn't bind the cable operators while letting the broadcasters scot free. "The ministry should have imposed restrictions on the pay broadcasters too - for instance cap on the rates declared initially and freeze on the rates for a particular time frame. Why has the government imposed restrictions only on the cable operators?" questioned Parab.

When reminded that Vijay Singh had ruled out the review of the Rs 72 FTA monthly cable rates, Parab offered: "Since they were part and parcel of the I&B ministry's decisions, these bureaucrats will never admit their mistakes. The fact of the matter is that the CAS task force had arrived at Rs 46 after undertaking a detailed costing exercise. However, the decision to arrive at Rs 72 was purely a random one. They should increase it from Rs 72 to Rs 150 in the same manner."

Parab lambasted the other committee members by saying that they (bureaucrats, MSOs, broadcasters) never reveal the true picture or the real issues discussed within closed rooms. "These people forget that the success of CAS is in the hands of the cable operator," Parab added as a parting shot.

Spoken like a politician and these words were like music to the Parab's followers - the cable operators who had assembled at the venue.

INCableNet distributor for Mumbai's suburban area of Borivali Ganesh Naidu actually confronted Vijay Singh while the bureaucrat was on his way out. "These broadcasters and MSOs have not involved us in anything. Please allow us to present our case. We are ready to organise a seminar to help you understand the real issues hounding the LMO," Naidu told Vijay Singh even as Singh got into his car to catch his Delhi flight.

Later on, while speaking to indiantelevision.com, Naidu said: "The cable infrastructure belongs to the cable operator. The MSOs or the broadcasters cannot force us to do anything. Collections for 2003 have been affected due to this bungling; we are in the second half of the year and nothing is still clear. We shall not accept the Rs 72 figure because it will not help pay our basic costs. Who will pay the electricity bills required for providing FTA channels for an entire day or the salaries of the staff or maintenance charges?"

Ravi Kalastri and Shakeel Shaikh of the Eastern Cable TV Operators & Welfare Association echoed Naidu's concerns by saying: "We knew that nothing would be achieved in today's meeting. More than 300 cable operators affiliated to our association will meet tomorrow in Chembur (a Mumbai suburb) and decide our next course of action.

We shall not allow the small cable operator with 100-200 points to be wiped out of business - we are happy with the present system. The success of CAS depends on us and we shall protect our interests."

Well, at least in Mumbai, cable operators seem united and the support of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray has given them the confidence to defy the dictates of the I&B ministry. Morchas and cable black outs may well be among the sideshows of the CAS rollout!

Latest Reads

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/12/15/sunny-leoae.jpg?itok=3SZqrF40
Sunny Leone in Discovery JEET’s show Man Vs Wild

Sunny Leone will be displaying her adventurous side as host of the mega-popular survival series Man Vs. Wild. The iconic series will telecast in Hindi on the soon-to-be-launched GEC Discovery JEET. The new GEC will premiere in the second week of February 2018 and the series will feature the...

Television TV Channels GECs
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/12/15/sm.jpg?itok=gUhILkq8
Times Now appoints Sujeet Mishra as marketing head

Times Network, part of India’s media conglomerate, The Times Group today announced the appointment of Sujeet Mishra as head of marketing, Times Now.

Television TV Channels People
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/12/15/sony-bbc_1.jpg?itok=mQuiQxIO
Experience space with BBC's new VR experience

The BBC is giving you a chance fly. Home - A VR Spacewalk is an interactive virtual reality (VR) experience launched today for the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift, and is available to download for free via the Steam Store and the Oculus Store.

Television TV Channels Factual & Documentary
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/12/15/bbc_0.jpg?itok=jTEnctw5
Sony BBC Earth presents the Best of 2017

Sony BBC Earth revisits some of its most popular episodes of the best shows in a special programming line-up titled Best of 2017 starting 18 December 2017, every night at 7 pm and 11 pm.

Television TV Channels Factual & Documentary
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/12/15/shemaroo.jpg?itok=JLK5kQw2
Increased revenue from traditional media boosts Shemaroo numbers

Integrated media content house Shemaroo Entertainment Limited (Shemaroo) reported 18.3 percent higher year-on-year (y-o-y) consolidated total revenue for the quarter ended 30 September 2017 (Q2 FY 2017-18, the quarter under review) stood at Rs 1,345.7 million as compared with Rs 1,138.6 million in...

Television Production House Film Production
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/12/15/mur.jpg?itok=Hql64_2L
21st CF spins-off into new live news & sports co Fox

MUMBAI: After the blockbuster acquisition of 21st Century Fox by The Walt Disney Company, the former has announced that it will spinoff into a new brand Fox’ that will seek to replicate its own success in the newly focussed verticals of live news and sports brands. Using fiscal 2017 as a base, the...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/12/15/uday_0.jpg?itok=t8VAurqw
With Star India, Disney emerges as India's largest M&E firm

MUMBAI: Unlike the US, where the merger of The Walt Disney Co and 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets is between two near equals, the scenario in India is totally different. 21st Century Fox’s India venture Star India is a $1.7 billion dollar media and entertainment behemoth while Disney India...

Television TV Channels People
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/12/14/bob.jpg?itok=zPgBgsME
Disney to buy 21st Century Fox assets for $52.4 billion

The Walt Disney Co has set up a $52.4 billion, all-stock deal to acquire 20th Century Fox and other entertainment and sports assets from Rupert Murdoch’s empire.

Television TV Channels Movie Channels
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/12/14/mania.jpg?itok=Jb64uy53
MOVIES NOW brings #StopDreamingAndStartWinning with 100 Mania Season 5 for its viewers

Movies Now, India’s english movie channel, rings in the festive season with its property ‘100 Mania’, beginning Friday, 15 December at 9pm. In its 5th season, the channel has curated a line-up of some of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters like Furious 7, Jurassic World, Disney’s The Jungle Book,...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories