Cable TV

Cable ops hijack consumer bodies' press conference

NEW DELHI: The CAS conundrum is getting more confounding and murky.

Even as consumer organisations were attempting to put forward their case at a press conference here, today, as to how conditional access is "anti-consumer", the proceedings got hijacked by a section of cable operators who entered into a slanging match with the organisers and raised the bogey that the consumer organisations were "acting on behalf of broadcasters."

Some 50 leading consumer organisations of the country announced that they have come under the umbrella organisation Consumer Co-ordination Council (CCC). The representatives said that they would file a public interest litigation (PIL) if the Indian government does not defer CAS implementation. However, they did not seem to have done their homework properly and dished out half baked truths and facts in an attempt that more looked like putting pressure on the government.

About six consumer organisations' representatives present at the press conference --- the big daddy of them all, HD Shourie kept away from the interaction with the journalists --- had some three-four points to make.

CCC representatives had the following points to make:

*CAS is anti-consumer

* The implementation of CAS should be deferred (no time limit given for deferment)

*A regulatory authority should be in place before CAS is rolled out

*Pay channels should not have dual streams of revenue in subscription and advertising and pay channels should not carry ads

While Anand Patwardhan, chairman of the Consumer Guidance Society of India, terming CAS related amendments as a "shabby piece of legislation", said that the PIL against CAS would be filed on the ground that it curbs an Indian citizen (read the consumer)'s freedom of speech and expression and right to information, CCC director S. Krishnan said: "We will file the PIL before 14 July (the deadline for CAS rollout in four metros) if we have to."

Patwardhan said that the Sec 4 a(ii) of the amended Cable TV (Network) Regulation Act is the offensive part and gives the government the control to monitor and regulate even the free to air channels that a consumer in a certain area can watch or not. But when it was pointed out that this can be done only when the government thinks there is a national security risk or some other risks, Patwardhan had no answer.

Though Mumbai Grahak Panchayat member Varsha Raut, who is also a member of the task force on CAS, made some valid points that pay channels should not carry ads and that the "government was forcing CAS" on the consumers, did get carried away when she said that in a 30-minute programme, consumers have to suffer 20 minutes of advertising--- a fact that, if really true, would make broadcasters like Star and Sony look like fools because they claim to be following the global norm of about 10-12 minutes of commercial time every hour.

Those who were present at today's press conference included VOICE's HK Awasthi, RD Saxena of Consumer Forum, Delhi and Rajan Gandhi of Consumer Unity and Trust Society, amongst others.

According to the consumer activists, the particular piece of legislation on CAS, which has caused many a heartburn, was supposed to give the consumer a choice, but fails to address issues like quality of service or under-declaration by cable operators.

A statement released on the occasion also asks several questions like:

*Why do consumers have to pay for the set top boxes?

* Why has the government failed to address the issue of cable monopolies?

*Why has the government not protected the consumers' interests by specifying the service quality parameters?

*Who will address the consumer complaints as there is no regulatory provision to offer a redressal mechanism?

There were questions galore at the press conference, more from the cable operators who had barged in, but very few answers. There was more of cable operator bashing (by the consumer activists) than valid facts given. Of course, big daddy Shourie --- on whose name the whole press conference was sold to the media --kept away from the heat and dust preferring to communicate through a prepared statement that was distributed amongst journalists.

However, to an important question (why were the consumer organisations sleeping all this six months when CAS was being deliberated upon in the task force to wake up so late?), none of the participants had any convincing answers. Still Raut defended the whole move by saying, "Consumer activists on the task force and she had raised several objections, but the bureaucrats kept ignoring their pleas saying `CAS had to be implemented'."

Unfortunately, nobody from the government was present to validate the observation.

Meanwhile, the cable ops present openly threatened everybody that if there was any rollback of CAS implementation deadline, the monthly cable subscription fee for an average India would go up to Rs 500 (over $ 10 from the existing average of $ 3.5).

Consumer body urges PILs against govt on CAS

NCTA gives memo on CAS to president, PM and deputy PM

Latest Reads
INDUSIND Media live telecasts "Magnetic Maharashtra Convergence 2018 - Global Investors Summit"

INDUSIND Media & Communications limited of Hinduja Group provides the live telecast of events from “Magnetic Maharashtra Convergence 2018 – Global Investors Summit” through their Indigital services for the benefit of all their viewers in Greater Mumbai, Maharshtra and some Key cities in India...

Cable TV Multi System Operators
Hathway leads the way in wireline net subs addition in Q3

BENGALURU: Over the past few years, multi-system operators, or MSOs, and cable television operators have been trying to enhance revenue by offering broadband internet services riding piggyback on their cable TV network wires.

Cable TV Multi System Operators
GTPL reports higher numbers for Q3 2018

BENGALURU: Indian multi system operator (MSO) and broadband internet services (broadband) provider GTPL Hathway Limited (GTPL) has reported a year-on-year (yoy) growth in standalone as well subsidiary companies revenues, operating profits and net profits for the quarter ended 31 December 2017 (Q3...

Cable TV Multi System Operators
Hinduja Ventures appoints Ashok Mansukhani as MD; net profit remains flat

MUMBAI: Hinduja Ventures Ltd (HVL) whole-time director Ashok Mansukhani has been elevated as the managing director of the company for two years from 30 April 2018 to 29 April 2020. Mansukhani completes his existing term as whole-time director on 29 April.

Cable TV People
Hathway reports improved standalone Q3 results

BENGALURU: The demerged Hathway Cable and Datacom (Hathway) reported standalone profit after tax (PAT) of Rs 23.87 crore (17.2 per cent of operating revenue) for the quarter ended 31 December 2017 (Q3 2018, quarter under review), 70.4 per cent higher as compared to PAT of Rs 14.01 crore (10.7 per...

Cable TV Multi System Operators
TDSAT rules in favor of DEN Networks, directs ZEE entertainment to provide channels on RIO basis

In a major victory for DEN Networks – TDSAT (Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal) directed ZEE Entertainment Limited (ZEEL) to provide channels to DEN Networks on RIO basis dismissing ZEEL’s claim that SMS and CAS of DEN were not compliant with the regulations.

Cable TV Multi System Operators
Dual LCN helping consumers, says KCCL's Shaji Mathews

MUMBAI: Kerala Communicators Cable Ltd (KCCL) CEO Shaji Mathews believes dual local channel numbers (LCN) is helping consumers and that its fate should be left to the market.

Cable TV Multi System Operators
DEN readies Android-based STB for Feb launch

Multi-system operator (MSO) DEN is all set to revamp its old hybrid set top box (STB) into a smart STB. The new STB will support 4k HD as well as internet access.

Cable TV Multi System Operators
Operating margin, sub revenue prop up Siti financials

BENGALURU: Backed by higher subscription and carriage revenue, Indian multi-systems operator (MSO) Siti Networks Ltd (Siti) has posted 19.4 percent higher consolidated total income for the quarter ended 31 December 2017 (Q3 2018, the quarter under review) as compared with the corresponding year...

Cable TV Multi System Operators

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories