Cable TV

In the brave new digital world, content could really be king

"If content is King and distribution is God, then God save the King!" That was Prasar Bharati CEO KS Sarma speaking at a recent industry seminar.

In these times of increasing channel influx onto already overloaded analogue cable systems, the distribution God is certainly making the content king do the merry carriage dance. Reminds one of the ever-worsening infrastructural mess that is Mumbai actually, where people are paying more and more for less and worse but with a big difference. Mumbai's is a story that is looking more hopeless by the day, while in this case there is much optimism about the future.

True, for the short to medium term, it will be the distribution God in whose hands will lie the fate of the content King. But once the dust has settled on all of this and the new platforms like digital cable, DTH, IPTV and mobile TV have reached critical mass, then it will be content that will hold sway, and how.

True, for the short to medium term, it will be the distribution God in whose hands will lie the fate of the content King


Disney's ABC network is already pointing one of the ways forward with its new online service of free programming. As part of a two-month-long experiment, Disney-ABC Television Group will be offering ad-supported, full-length episodes of four ABC primetime series online at

What's the logic working here? Is ABC getting Get 'Desperate' and 'Lost' as regards its online strategy. Not at all. It all makes sense if we keep in mind that if there is one place where the dominant culture is to access content for free, it is the Web.

So if ABC is trying to transpose the "traditional advertising driven network model" onto the Web there is already an inbuilt advantage over television. It is that while the whole TiVo, time-shifting, DVR mentality is now carrying over to the Web, the consumer cannot zap out the ads. And since many of the ads will be interactive, advertisers will be guaranteed even greater value.

The content creators that stay ahead of the curve and the distribution platform providers most alive to the challenges and opportunities that the digital world offers will be the ones who will reap the benefits


Closer to home, companies like Reliance and Airtel expect to start IPTV services by the end of this year. And for a basic package they are promising rates as cheap as your current cable TV charges. No one is trying to say there won't be teething problems (and knowing the ground realities here, these would probably be pretty severe). In India the biggest problem is going to be unbundling of the so called last mile, which basically means that incumbent operators like BSNL or MTNL should allow other operators to use their copper wires.

With the imminent arrival of Tata-Sky DTH, Zee's Dish TV ramping up and the big telecom players aggressively pushing ahead with IPTV and mobile TV, the value of quality content can only go up. We see some sort of shakeout --- both on the content as well as the technology side by 2008.

In the meanwhile, the content creators that stay ahead of the curve and the distribution platform providers most alive to the challenges and opportunities that the digital world offers will be the ones who will reap the benefits.

There could well be a lesson in this for the cable fraternity too. Market forces could soon make the whole CAS debate irrelevant and the MSOs may well end up "missing the addressability bus".

Maybe 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.

The cable fraternity has a huge first mover advantage vis-?-vis pushing addressability because they own the last mile. Maybe they should as aggressively be chasing market-driven addressability as they are the mandating of CAS. A twin strategy would better cover their bases one would think.

As for the content game, to quote John Hendricks, chairman of Discovery Communications Inc, from a recent report: "Newly empowered TV consumers will drive networks to improve their offerings, putting a 'great squeeze' on 'marginal quality content'. They're in control now."

Not in India, they're not. But they will be. Of that nobody need have any doubt.

Latest Reads
Den reports improved numbers for Q2 over Q1

The Sameer Manchanda-led Indian cable distribution network and broadband internet services (broadband) provider Den Networks Ltd

Cable TV Local Cable Operators
GTPL cable TV business revenue up in second quarter

Indian multi-system operator and internet service provider GTPL Hathway Ltd (GTPL) reported 13.8 percent increase in total income for the quarter ended 30 September 2018

Cable TV Local Cable Operators
Hathway in the red due to higher expenses, forex loss in second quarter

In the first quarter of the previous fiscal, restructuring at Indian multi system operator (MSO) Hathway Cable and Datacom Ltd (Hathway) had brought for it a positive bottomline.

Cable TV Local Cable Operators
Indian DTH equipments worth Rs 7.83 cr seized by Pakistan authorities

Pakistan authorities have seized a large quantity of smuggled Indian direct-to-home (DTH) equipment worth Rs 7.83 crore from various markets in a countrywide crackdown against illegal devices according to a report published by

Cable TV Local Cable Operators
Indian pay TV revenue to touch $16 bn by 2023: MPA

As per a new report by Media Partners Asia (MPA), the pay TV revenue in Asia will top $56 billion in 2018. This will continue to grow at 3 per cent CAGR till 2023 and likely to exceed $66 billion by then. Pay TV revenue consists of subscription fees and local and regional advertising sales.

Cable TV Local Cable Operators
Q2 results: Hinduja Ventures reports total income of Rs 26.72 crores

HVL on standalone basis reported a total income of Rs. 26.72 Crores for the half year ended September 30, 2018.

Cable TV Multi System Operators
IMCL aspires to hit 7 mn subscribers in a year

At a time when the face of India’s multi-billion dollar cable industry is changing rapidly with the emergence of new players, Indusland Media & Communication Ltd (IMCL), one of the oldest players in the industry, has announced a new offering ‘I Am Mumbai, I Am InDigital’.

Cable TV Local Cable Operators
ACT Fibernet seeks funding; discloses financials

In its prospectus with SEBI, ACT Fibernet submitted the financial details and is looking for fund-raising to expand the business across India. ACT Fibernet reported revenue of Rs 1,217 crore and EBITDA of Rs 211.67 crore in fiscal 2017.

Cable TV Local Cable Operators
Hathway to target existing users for new OTT, cable hybrid STBs

Indian consumers are not losing interest in linear TV anytime soon but one can’t be too wary given the OTT burst. To stay ahead of the game, Hathway has unveiled two new products – an OTT set-top box and a cable hybrid box. Both of the boxes have been priced at Rs 2999.

Cable TV Local Cable Operators

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories