MSO's should be marketing CAS now: Sameer Nair

MUMBAI: The cable fraternity is wasting the huge first mover advantage they already have in hand vis-a-vis pushing addressability in chasing the mandating of CAS, feels Star Entertainment India CEO Sameer Nair.

Reiterating Star's well documented opposition to mandated CAS, Nair asserts that the MSOs are seriously missing a trick on the matter in their "all-consuming" focus on getting a mandate out that will fix a time frame for the rollout of CAS.
Nair drew attention to the latest reports circulating indicating that it could be anywhere between six to eight months at the minimum for the mandated CAS rollout to take off (if at all).

According to Nair, even as big corporate players were preparing the ground for different addressable delivery platforms to roll out, the cable fraternity were only focussed on getting a cut-off date in place for the rollout of CAS.

Nair is of the view that with the imminent arrival of Tata-Sky DTH, Zee's Dish TV ramping up and the big telecom players aggressively pushing ahead with IPTV, market forces would soon make the whole debate irrelevant and the MSOs may well end up "missing the addressability bus".

Nair averred that MSOs should instead be focussing their efforts on attractively packaging and marketing CAS to their direct points to begin with and concurrently convincing their franchisees of the need to get CAS going, government or no government.

Another issue he raised was on the inability of many cable ops to deliver on CAS even if it was mandated. He said that barring a few big MSOs, most operators were simply not ready for CAS. Neither did they have the set top boxes nor the subscriber management systems in place to get it off the ground.

According to Nair, in such a scenario, the likely result would be a blackout of pay channels in many areas, as had been witnessed in Chennai. But the difference here, he pointed out, was that unlike in Chennai, where there was no great demand for pay channels, in this case it would more likely be because of inability to deliver.

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