Growth in b'casting sector, liberalisation driving ROI via satellite

NEW DELHI: "The growth in the broadcasting sector, liberalisation in policies, exportation of content and IP/MPEG4 are driving ROI (return on investment) via satellite into India (in the media and entertainment sector)." This is what satellite service company Loral Skynet's VP (strategic product marketing) Jonathan P Kirchner had to say on opportunities in the Indian satellite communication sector during the inaugural session of the 12th Convergence India 2004, which commenced here today.

In a session, chaired by ISRO, Department of Space, director - INSAT program, A Bhaskaranarayana, Kirchner shared his views on vertical and market segment trends, global activity drivers, trends in India and South Asia, and applications of satellite communications in media and entertainment apart from other sectors.

"Asia is a large, robust and complex market but it is witnessing spate of developments in IP networking, Internet access, private networking The critical enablers of ROI in India are creativity (applications), connectivity (global), competition, co-optation (partnership), cost (value) and culture (localization)," said Kirchner. 

On trends in the global environment, he said that enterprise and government require end-to-end solutions, stores platforms are essential, mobility - GSM, marine, aero/aviation, Wi-Fi etc, video will eventually migrate to IP, new application - digital cinema/HDTV and pan-regional connectivity were the emerging possibilities.

The value drivers of communication satellite are its ubiquitous footprints, reliability and security, broadcast - point to many/multi-point, broadband greater than one MB, extension and remote access and speed of deployment, he added.

Loral Skynet, which offers solutions for movement of content, sees applications of satellite communications in DTH, cable distribution, satellite news gathering, pay-TV, broadband and Internet among other platforms. 

In the same session, mobile satellite company Inmarsat Ventures Plc. founder and advisor Michael Storey described India as a competitive, one of the fastest growing telecom and "wireless savvy" market. "Businesses must exploit possibilities offered by mobile data," he said. Immarsat, which has a liaison office in India, is currently having a distribution partner in VSNL. Eutelsat regional director - Middle East, Asia and Scandinavia, Jan Grondrup-Vivanco said that broadcasters / content providers, rather than solely focusing on India, can also tap pay-TV subscribers, mainly related to NRI segment. 

"The widebeam, which is technically feasible and financially viable, provides Indian broadcasters/content producers opportunities to expand their operations as done by ABS-CBN in Europe," said Vivanco. He stressed on the fact the NRI pay-TV market (approximately 850,000) might be too small in comparison to India but the assumed margins for Indian broadcasters is close to 70 per cent in comparison (targeting NRI segment) to five percent from pay-TV package in India.

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