| Now the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF)
wants to formulate guidelines for cable operators regarding CAS. The
intention is noble, but it seems that some members have questioned
the grounds on which such a policy can be framed by the IBF.
During a meeting here today, this aspect, including other technical
issues related to CAS, was discussed by IBF members, though no consensus,
according to information available, was reached.
It is also learnt that a note regarding CAS was circulated. Though
indiantelevision.com does not have a copy of the note, according
to some members, the note stated that the key objective of broadcasters
under CAS regime will be to usher in transparency so as to lead
to more equitable distribution of revenues.
A key concern of IBF members is the loss of revenue on account
of piracy and misreporting of subscriber base to broadcasters.
On the issue of piracy control, it was suggested at today's meeting
that if at any given point the extent of piracy goes beyond five
per cent of the total subscribers, the operator concerned will have
to replace pronto all VC cards with newer ones or take steps that
will arrest the growth of signal piracy.
But, who will decide the quantum of piracy and on what basis? This
is a million dollar question that IBF members are still grappling
with as participating members are suggesting various numbers in
According to some IBF members, at today's meet, spread over two
sessions, it was mooted that an agreement be drafted that would
be signed between the
service provider (MSOs and cable ops) and broadcasters. However,
no time frame has been set for the drafting of this agreement.
This, as pointed out to indiantelevision.com, has been suggested
to safeguard leakage of various data that would get collected through
the subscriber management system in a post-CAS regime.
For example, it has been pointed out that data of subscribers and
any trends collected cannot be used by the service provider or sold
to any individual or an organisation except when the local laws
require to do so and that too after permission has been obtained
from the broadcasters.
Apart from this, other highly technical aspects of CAS were also
discussed, including the vendor that would supply the CA software
and the various types of servers that can and ought to be used.
Are the broadcasters managing pay channels coming out with a joint
statement on their resolution on not turning free to air in a post
CAS regime, which had been planned earlier and is still being discussed
amongst the broadcasters?
It seems there is some confusion on this aspect too.
Though a senior executive of Star India today confirmed to indiantelevision.com
that a non-encrypted dual feed of Star News has been started, apart
from the one in an encrypted form. "This has been done to increase
viewership of Star News in non-urban areas where the purchasing
power of consumers may not be as high as those in urban areas.
So, technically, Star News has not turned FTA, but a separate feed
has been started for which cable ops don't have to pay anything
for downlinking and redistribution of signals. Similar dual feeds
have been also started by the likes of FTV, though Zee denied that
it has done any such thing with the Alpha series of regional language