Cable TV

IBF board to discuss CAS on 5 April

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NEW DELHI: Even as Siti Cable today made a presentation on conditional access system to stakeholders during a government-sponsored meeting, the broadcasters said the issue of rollout would be discussed at a board meeting before they finalise their stand.

The Siti Cable presentation basically dwelt on various aspects of CAS, but hinged on the fact that between 180-200 days would be needed as preparation time for final rollout of addressability in Indian cable homes in the metros of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.

Siti Cable is also in favour of standardization of all contractual agreements that are entered between a broadcaster and MSO; an MSO and a cable operator and a local operator and a consumer.

Though the six-hour long meeting took up various viewpoints and modalities that could be followed before the government notifies a date for rollout of CAS, representatives from most major pay broadcasters did not attend today’s meeting.

Those who could be said to be representing the broadcasting community included a senior official from the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), an apex body of all broadcasters active in India, and Zee Telefilms’ Jawahar Goel.

Broadcasters haven’t yet given a formal submission to the government on CAS, which is expected to come through on 7 April when the government will hold another round of meeting with industry stakeholders.

Meanwhile, Indiantelevision.com learns that the board of IBF will discuss addressability in a meeting on Wednesday (5 April).

Some of the issues relating to CAS implementation, which have been informally raised by broadcasters with the government, include piracy, quality of service and parameters to decide standardized agreements amongst industry stakeholders.

It is also learnt that the broadcasters are averse to supplying maximum retail price for a TV channel for the end consumer.

The pay broadcasters, yet to articulate their final stand on this issue, feel a mechanism could be evolved whereby wholesale price of individual channels and bouquets could be supplied to MSOs who then could decide what a channel should cost to the consumer after including their margins for providing a service.

After today’s meeting, an independent cable operator of Delhi, Dr. AK Rastogi, said, “We have been discussing CAS for few days now. But to me, it seems, final implementation, as directed by the Delhi High Court, will take more time than what had been envisaged.”

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