Debate on for digital India stack consensus: Sudhanshu Vats

MUMBAI: Viacom18 group CEO Sudhanshu Vats is of the opinion that net neutrality is essential for the evolution of society but firmly believes that illegal and pirated content can’t be made available to all in the name of net neutrality.

Vats, who also happens to be the present chairman of BARC India, said that the ratings organisation has made a solid beginning but will have to iron out some glitches (like niche channels’ measurements) as it continues to evolve and that the rollout of digital measurement would depend on how soon the industry stakeholders bring themselves on the same page on issues under debate, including formation of an Indian stack for benchmarking digital data.

“Net neutrality is essential and the net should be as neutral as possible because that’s in the best interest of a functional democracy,” Vats told in an interview, adding, “My view is clear: illegal content should not be made available but then enforcement is not always that easy.”

Viacom18, which spans businesses such as film production and distribution of content on TV and digital space, has been working extensively and intensively on anti-piracy issues along with the Indian government and other media companies in recent times.

Elaborating on his views on tackling the menace of video and content piracy, which is becoming a headache for content owners globally, Vats said, “At times, consumers too are not clear on legal and illegal content… (and) in my view piracy should be tackled through a three-pronged approach of legislation, enforcement and consumer awareness.”

Making a case for introducing economic disincentives for arresting flourishing piracy, Vats added that if content was made available to consumers at “competitive price points”, it would be a “big deterrent to piracy” and such business models.

Speaking on BARC India, Vats highlighted fidelity of data has improved considerably and tent-pole events on television --- from a big channel launch to a new program introduction and all the way to an important news break event in an hour --- are captured and show up with a very prominent spike. “The areas where more work needs to be done are the measurement of niche channels by BARC and management of volatility (high fidelity brings high volatility) by all stakeholders,” he explained.

The initiatives like return path data (RPD) and premium panel will help improve the measurement of niche channels, Vats said. BARC has announced one partnership with DEN Networks for collecting additional viewership data via RPD from the MSO’s consumer-premises STBs, and negotiations are on with some other DTH platforms and MSOs.

Vats lauded the measurement agency’s role saying data is more robust, transparent and objective (compared to an earlier system). The sample size, which has already been dialed up to 32,000 (almost four times the size of the erstwhile measurement system), will be further bumped up to 40,000 by next year and even further in the years to come.

Asked about the much-awaited rollout of digital data by BARC, Vats explained, “There are debates (happening presently) around all digital players being a part of the measurement, equitable methods /process used for data capturing from all players and the more holistic India stack/dmp for representation and publishing of the data. All the stakeholders at BARC are debating these issues and the time-frame of publishing digital data will depend on the speed of alignment and approach taken by the stakeholders.”

Keep tuned in and watch this space for the full text of the interview with Vats where he speaks on a wide range of subjects, including the evolution of the Indian media and entertainment sector, regulations, Viacom18’s businesses, how programming strategies are conceptualized with the help of data crunchers, why it is important for media companies to have their own data analytics centers and much more.


TRAI releases recommendations on net neutrality 

Comment: War on online video piracy, which matters, is here for India to fight

BARC India to solve digital puzzle with 'EKAM' 

Global digital platforms adapting locally for BARC's EKAM 

Latest Reads
Disney to buy 21st Century Fox assets for $52.4 billion

The Walt Disney Co has set up a $52.4 billion, all-stock deal to acquire 20th Century Fox and other entertainment and sports assets from Rupert Murdoch’s empire.

Television TV Channels Movie Channels
MOVIES NOW brings #StopDreamingAndStartWinning with 100 Mania Season 5 for its viewers

Movies Now, India’s english movie channel, rings in the festive season with its property ‘100 Mania’, beginning Friday, 15 December at 9pm. In its 5th season, the channel has curated a line-up of some of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters like Furious 7, Jurassic World, Disney’s The Jungle Book,...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
SPN India to telecast Real Madrid vs Barcelona at 4:30 pm

Less than two weeks to Christmas and Sony Pictures Sports Network (SPSN) launches its “Christmas Comes Early” campaign as a build-up to the biggest football clash of the year, El Clasico.

Television TV Channels Sports
PEN to launch Hindi music channel Dream TV

MUMBAI: Despite the glut of pure-play Hindi music channels on television today, Popular Entertainment Network (PEN) is adding one more to the fray. The new channel, called Dream TV, will provide 24-hour programming.

Television TV Channels Music and Youth
RTL Group restructures top management

MUMBAI: There’s change at the top at RTL Group–which owns Fremantle Media and operates a clutch of 61 TV channels–including RTL CBS and RTL CBS Extreme–and 30 radio stations in Europe. At his own behest, Guillaume de Posch will step down as co-CEO of RTL Group, effective 1 January 2018. He will...

Television TV Channels People
Disney expected to announce 21 CF buyout tomorrow: media reports

The Mouse House is closing in on the Fox. Media reports have emerged that Disney’s bid to acquire the Murdoch-owned 21st Century Fox (21 CF Fox) group’s entertainment assets is near closure. The price being talked about is anywhere between $60 billion and $68 billion and an announcement is...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
World television premiere of Maragadha Naanayam on Zee Tamil

Zee Tamil announced the world television premiere of critically acclaimed Maragadha Naanayam – the fantasy-comedy-thriller film that features Aadhi Pinisetty and Nikki Galrani on Sunday, 17 December at 4:00 PM only on Zee Tamil. Written and directed by ARK Saravan, the movie is a perfect blend of...

Television TV Channels Regional
Republic TV to track real-time data for Gujarat elections

MUMBAI: Republic TV has partnered data-science company Gramener to track real-time data, along with analysis, during the Gujarat elections. According to a release sent by Republic TV, “Gramener will help enhance the visual look both on-air and on Republic’s digital platforms to present the data in...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Nakul Chopra is new BARC chairman

MUMBAI: Nakul Chopra, currently president of Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) and senior advisor of Publicis Communications, has been elected as the next chairman of BARC India. Chopra succeeds Viacom18 group CEO Sudhanshu Vats, who has completed his one-year tenure as chairman.

Television TV Channels Viewership

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories