CASBAA announces India chapter; Shourie first chairman

MUMBAI: The Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA) today announced the launch of an India chapter in what it said was a part of their overall regional strategy.

The Indian chapter will be chaired by Discovery India managing director Deepak Shourie and will comprise all the members of the association that currently have representation in the Indian market.

Star India CEO Peter Mukerjea will hold the position of vice chairman of the CASBAA India chapter and the key steering group will comprise Sony Entertainment Television India CEO Kunal Dasgupta, Disney India managing director Rajat Jain and ESPN managing director RC Venkateish.

"Our objective is to highlight the real value of the multi-channel television industry in India. As an industry sector we need to better articulate our central role within the broad communications market. More than this, it is time for India to take its rightful place in the international community and showcase its achievements to the world," said CASBAA chairman Marcel Fenez.

"By some estimates the pay-TV industry in India is worth up to $5 billion today, providing employment to thousands of highly skilled workers. To fully benefit from this platform we need to ensure that the next stage of our development includes a robust regulatory environment and advanced technologies," said Shourie.

"Meanwhile, we also believe it is essential that the pay-TV industry in India has a clear voice. We hope that the CASBAA India Chapter will be joined by many other organisations with our common goals of developing a robust and advanced pay-TV market," he added.

In response to a query posed by, as to why there was no representation of any Indian media companies like the Zee Network on the India chapter of CASBAA; Dasgupta said, "The mandate will be to get everyone in the pay TV supply chain on to CASBAA so that we can monetise the entire supply chain to the maximum efficiency."

Beyond dealing with day-to-day issues, the CASBAA India chapter will also promote initiatives such as the launch of a pay-TV sales and marketing training scheme in India by the CASBAA Media College and a series of CASBAA seminars on new technologies supporting the pay-TV industry. CASBAA will establish a full-time office in India in the coming months.

"We need to actively recruit new companies to join CASBAA within India so that we reflect the existing profile of the Association in other parts of the region," said CASBAA Board director responsible for India Issues and CNBC Asia Pacific CEO and president Alexander Brown.

"CASBAA is about more than broadcasters. It represents the interests of a wide range sectors, including the MSOs, the satellite operators, the hardware providers and the original creators of our content. This will be the strength of the CASBAA India Chapter," Brown added.

The two immediate issues on CASBAA India's agenda will be, first, to bring the CASBAA conference to India, which is held in Hong Kong every year. Secondly, Dasgupta said that the CASBAA India chapter will be tackling the issue of hotels and pubs that are accessing pay TV and are not adequately compensating the pay channels for it. This is one issue that CASBAA has taken up proactively in Hong Kong.

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