Television

B4U to cost Rs 10 post-CAS; 50%+ margin to cable op

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MUMBAI: MTV India's pay-driven sister Nickelodeon was the first to declare its rate. Now B4U Movies has announced it will remain a pay-channel after CAS at Rs.10 per subscriber per month. The channel has also stated that it will offer the highest revenue share to the cable operator among all channels.

 

Since Zee TV has been on record saying it is willing to offer a 50 per cent revenue share, that would mean B4U would have to cross that margin.



Speaking to indiantelevision.com, Debashis Dey, chief distribution officer, B4U Television Network, said while no definite margin had as yet been worked out, B4U Movies would match and better the best offer in the business. When it was pointed out to him that Zee was ready to offer 50 per cent, Dey confirmed that if 50 per cent was the highest margin in the market, B4U would go higher than that, but did not provide a definite number.



Kids' channel Nickelodeon had earlier declared it would cost Rs 3 per subscriber per month and is reportedly ready to offer 30 per cent of subscription revenue to the cable operator.

 

Offering his views on the vexed CAS issue, Dey said the biggest flaw in the present system was that open architecture and inter-operability had not been mandated as a prerequisite for the set top box. "Ignoring all other areas of controversy, as many friends and consumer bodies are truly concerned and working on the same, CAS defeats it own objective in one big sense - in not providing freedom of choice to the viewers. Unlike the DTH law, which specifies a box with an open architecture and inter-operability, which means that the consumer can buy a box and dish from the market and choose his or her service provider. The same should have been for CAS also, as a closed system of encryption again sponsors monopoly and subsequent unethical practice, be it overhand or underhand. The consumer remains stuck with one MSO, one box and one particular package and totally vulnerable to exploitation, Dey points out. 



Adds Dey, "The solution remains with the government and it should either specify a set top box with a common interface or a single encryption for the whole country. This will truly give the freedom of choice, to the broadcaster, the operator and the consumer (who can choose any service provider of his or her choice) in every sense. Competition will bring out the best in services, in pricing and in value additions. We are also confident that the cable operators will once again wake up to this call and meet the techno-commercial demand. All of them are very much capable."



Dey also made a dig at broadcasters lobbying for the bundling of pay channels (Zee on Saturday said it was petitioning the government towards this end). "Bundling defeats the very essence of CAS and the government should take all necessary steps to put an end to such unethical practices which promote exploitation of viewers and stop such marriage of conveniences between broadcasters, which we are witnessing now."

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