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Business models, regulations and technology adoption need to evolve: Frost & Sullivan

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MUMBAI: Frost & Sullivan hosted the third edition of its ‘Digital Media India Summit’ on June 24 at the Le Meridien, Delhi. The summit included over 100 participants from broadcasters, cable, DTH, and telco operators as well as industry bodies and government representatives. The summit addressed key industry trends and issues such as regulatory challenges in the video ecosystem, big picture for Indian television business, benefits and challenges of TV-everywhere, collaborative workflows in multimedia video; and preparing for Phase 3 and Phase 4 of Digitization.

At the summit, Mukul Krishna, Senior Director, Global Digital Media Practice, Frost & Sullivan, presented the key trends influencing the video broadcast and services industry globally and in India. He also talked about the important factors that can drive growth in the multiscreen video market, alleviate churn for service providers and the key technologies that a stakeholder requires to adopt in the current industry environment. He said, “India requires a collective movement from all stakeholders to catalyze short term as well as long term growth. The industry should be working towards not just survival or sustenance but thriving growth.”

The panel on regulatory challenges in video included Satya Gupta, SAAM Corpadvisors Pvt. Ltd. (ex TRAI); SK Singhal, Advisor (broadcasting and Cable Services), TRAI; Sisir Pillai, Chief Strategy Officer, Digicable; Roop Sharma, President, Cable Operators Federation of India, and Avnindra Mohan, President (Legal & Regulatory), Zee Network. The panelists discussed revenue sharing models among broadcasters, MSOs and LCOs gross billing, and the role of TRAI in regulating the same for all stakeholders. They also discussed the apparent lack of transparency and standardization in regulatory guidance on revenue sharing, the digital acquisition forms for subscribers and disparate pricing across different states. In response to his co-panelists, TRAI Advisor, S.K. Singhal emphasized that the rules by the regulatory body are guidelines and not rigid as they are interpreted to be. He pointed out the potential of the industry to grow driven by opportunities in multimedia distribution. He also alluded to the telecom industry’s growth riding on the back of value-added services and encouraged the broadcast and service provider industry to innovate their services.

In a presentation on the big picture of the TV business in India, Vanita Kohli Khadekar, Columnist and Author (The Indian Media Business), talked about a few interesting trends in the Indian TV industry, which included – digitization of content, consolidation and growth of online video. These trends are shaping the Indian TV industry like never before and are bringing in a multitude of changes across all segments. She said, “India is looked as a market of huge volumes in terms of opportunity; however one doesn’t realize that India is not one market, but several.” She highlighted that India is highly fragmented in viewership by state and language and hence it requires customization in programming as well as business models.

During another discussion on ‘Is TV everywhere good for video business’, the panel discussed trends in the video content ecosystem, distribution, and the necessity to create compelling content for multiple media. The major challenges faced are multiple taxation levied on the broadcast industry and piracy. The panelists concluded that the way forward is content availability over IP, monetization of content and control of piracy. The panelists concurred that personalization, localization and more importantly, ‘searchability’ with the right metadata is critical for the success of TV-everywhere. Frost & Sullivan’s Vidya S. Nath, Director, Digital Media, Global Innovation Center chaired this panel which had Subhashish Mazumdar, Senior VP, North & East, Hinduja Group (Media); Sisir Pillai, Chief Strategy Officer, Digicable; Rajiv Khattar, President – Projects, Dish TV India, as panelists.

The panel on collaborative workflows in multimedia video distribution discussed the essential requirements of a media company today. The panelists conveyed that every company requires to evolve out of departmental and functional siloes and create a cohesive platform that leverages a central repository of content. Standards are very important to ensure interoperability across applications and devices. The panelists in this session included Ujwal Nirgudkar, Chairman, SMPTE-India Section; Sameer Kanse, Head, Media Services, Tata Communications; and Irfan Khan, Marketing & Strategic Alliances, Tangerine Digital, and was chaired by Avni Rambhia, Principal Analyst, Frost & Sullivan.

On the occasion, Vidya S. Nath noted in her address that consumer-viewing habits have evolved dramatically with the availability of multiple screens, and hence business models, regulation and technology adoption have to change side-by-side to abet industry growth.

The final panel discussion on preparation for phase 3 and 4 in digitization brought forth the various mistakes committed in the first and second phases such as short deadlines to complete the digitization in cable TV, which left cable operators clueless and grappling to meet expectations and deadlines. The key aspect that was highlighted was the need for chalking out a roadmap for digitization with a clear agenda for the stakeholders and participants. The importance of standardization was also put forth by the panelists. Vynsley Fernandes, Director, Castle Media, moderated this discussion that saw participation by Arvind Prabhoo, Founder, Maharashtra Cables Operators’ Federation and Tony D’Silva, CEO, Hinduja Group (Media).

The innovative and exclusive growth workshops hosted during this summit for CXOs on disruption to transformation and new age business models for pay TV and video brought out many interesting trends and aspects of the digital media industry. The summit also touched upon transforming media workflows for effective ROI and coping with growing fragmentation of media in the digitized world, which were presented by Sameer Kanse and Rajendra Khare, Co-Founder and CMD, SureWaves MediaTech, respectively.

The event partners for this summit were SureWaves, Tangerine, and Tata Communications, while the media partners were Broadcast & CableSat, Cablequest, Convergence Plus, Digital Studio, Indian Television and Light Reading India.

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