Specials

POLICY 2004: Waiting for Godot

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/event-coverage/2014/05/02/hammer.jpg?itok=-LsW330Z

December, 2003. Give us some more time and next year, we would take issues like CAS, DTH, second phase of FM radio and the matter of news channels uplinking from India forward. Since the regulator is studying some cases, we’d wait for its recommendations. This would be done apart from other initiatives in the media and entertainment sector. ------- the then information and broadcasting minister RAVI SHANKAR PRASAD.

January 6, 2005. I don’t think we are going to take decisions in a hurry and CAS is certainly not a priority at the moment. The ministry is still studying various recommendations of Trai. I am trying to evolve a system where I complete a job and then speak about it. ----- the present I&B minister JAIPAL REDDY.

In between these two observations, hangs a tale. A tale spanning almost nine months (three months before the general elections and six months after a new government had come to the helm of affairs) in slomo and indecisiveness. A phase when not only the media, but the industry too expected some rapid-fire action from the new government. Especially because Reddy is an old hand at the I&B ministry and had some radical plans last time round when he had the portfolio.

If the following paragraphs make a mention of policies that are likely to impact the industry, they were set in motion much before Reddy and co. took over. So take

a breath. Here goes. DTH, if Reddy has his way, will probably take flight. FM radio is heading nowhere. TRAI is announcing regulations with no help from the ministry (the regulator continues to draw its mandate from the previous government). FDI in print is being looked at again - after International Herald Tribune started operations on Indian soil and the film industry is still crying hoarse on rampant piracy. To add to the state of indecisiveness, politicians got busy with turf war and bureaucrats lived up to their breed by finding ways and means to debate issues that could have been cut short for the final decisions to be taken quickly.

Nothing can highlight the lull than the I&B ministry yearly round up put out by the government PR division, Press Information Bureau. Amongst other things, it listed 2004 events like DD’s DTH (the most significant one it seems), holding of international film fest in Goa and the Economic Editors’ Conference in Delhi and

giving momentum to an inter-ministerial panel on vulgarity and surrogate ads on TV.

Let us take the biggest event --- or the non-event may be --- of 2003. Rocked by high-level lobbying by the industry and public indifference, the then national Democratic Front government, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, dropped the politically hot potato called CAS in the lap of Telecom Regulatory Authority

of India (Trai) towards the end of 2003, thinking the issue could be taken up in 2004 after it comes back to power. This was done after months of mandays had been

wasted in government-industry interaction on CAS and some investment had been made by certain players in infrastructure anticipating arrival of a new technological regime.

What’s the status now? Despite Trai submitting a comprehensive report, which some in the ministry term more complicated than the issue itself, on how an addressable system could be brought about in India, the I&B ministry now is said to be studying the case all over again. An indication to the disdain to the Trai report comes out when an official said last year, “Travelling all over the world and compiling how things work elsewhere, doesn’t make a sectoral report.”

As the turf war between the Trai and the I&B ministry continued in the latter half of 2004, several important decision got held up, including the second phase of FM radio, which, according to Reddy’s multiple reiteration, has the potential of bringing

about a radio revolution coupled with community radio services. The turf war was so intense that Trai also decided to sound the bugle by declaring grandly that

since broadcast and cable services have been re-designated telecom services by the previous government, the Authority should also have a say in the policy making process on downlinking. Not only Trai rushed a letter to the I&B ministry on this

issue, but also said publicly that it needs more powers to adjudicate in intra and inter-industry disputes.

“If need be, we’d approach the Supreme Court,” Trai chairman and former bureaucrat Pradip Baijal grandly announced on the sidelines of a public function last

month, indicating the stridency in the regulator’s outlook.

DTH matter continued to simmer throughout 2004 despite Trai’s suggestions to both the I&B and telecom ministries to extend some sops to the players like allowing a DTH service provider to use foreign satellites and a cut in the revenue sharing percentage. But the year would be remembered more by the Rupert Murdoch-controlled Star for having successfully failed to `move’ either files or the bureaucrats in the ministry. Thus, Space TV (a joint venture between the Tatas and Star) continues to hang in space as the government tries digging for more

facts about the project.

Contrast it with pubcaster Doordarshan’s elation. After several aborted attempts and false call, it managed to get off the ground its free DTH service. Dubbed a “unique project” by Reddy, DD Direct Plus will enable the viewers access to 33 free-to-air TV channels, mostly comprising DD’s and private channels, and 10-odd radio channels. At taxpayers’ expense, the government and Prasar Bharati have embarked on a project that doesn’t seem to be able to turn commercially viable for some time to come.

Year 2004 was characterised by long pauses, remarkable inaction and little else. Reddy sat on some of the most important decisions taken by the previous government on the pretext of getting a better insight. Much to the chagrin of conscience-keepers of the present government, namely the Left, Reddy distinguished himself with his trademark verbosity ---which failed to keep pace with action.

One fondly hopes that 2005 would be better off for the industry as it grapples with bottomline-impacting policy decisions in the pipeline (ask the financially bleeding private FM radio operators and they’ll vouch for this fact, waiting anxiously for a word from the government on Trai’s suggestions) and policymakers’penchant for looking for the ideal piece of legislation.

That this yearly round up is short, compared to others in the series, speaks itself volubly for the state of policy making during 2004.

Latest Reads

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/09/12/charlie_1.jpg?itok=jlU0mgaX
Imagine Communications to host thought-leadership sessions at IBC2017

Imagine Communications has unveiled the schedule and speaker lineup for the IBC2017 edition of the company’s popular ImagineLIVE Power Sessions, a series of presentations and interactive discussions featuring prominent executives and experts from across the media and entertainment and IT industries...

Specials Event Coverage Occasions
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/08/30/ATF.jpg?itok=1aoo_Qe6
Green Gold backs first animation pitch at Asia Television Forum

Visitors to Asia’s leading entertainment content market and conference event - Reed Exhibitions’s Asia Television Forum in Singapore - will get to see Indian animation studio Green Gold Animation getting prominence. The Indian studio has become the first Indian company to get behind as the sponsor...

Specials Event Coverage ASIA TV FORUM
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/08/29/Untitled-4.jpg?itok=x1IvUZK7
Content is supreme, lyrics are vital, says Farhan Akhtar at NDTV conclave

MUMBAI: "If the story is not good, then no matter where you shoot the film it doesn't matter. Content has to be supreme. There was a time when music became more important than lyrics. Audience would not even remember the lyrics. That is changing now. The thought that if you have one hit number in...

Specials Promonet feature
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/08/29/Cosmos_Maya.jpg?itok=4TkBPa1D
From Maya to a real super success, the Cosmos Maya turnaround story

MUMBAI: When it comes to producing animation series, very few can hold a candle to Cosmos Maya. Founded in 1996 as Maya, the animation studio has progressed over the years from creating a single intellectual property Motu Patlu in 2012 to a handful of them in India and overseas.

Specials Promonet feature
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/08/26/charlie.jpg?itok=pHbGrX3M
IBC2017: Imagine to show seamless transition to next-gen architecture

Imagine Communications will at IBC2017 show how it is assisting all segments of the media & entertainment ecosystem in the migration of workflows to a more agile technology foundation through inventive-but-pragmatic practices and solutions that significantly reduced the friction at the...

Specials Event Coverage Occasions
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/07/24/Ajit%20Mohan%20and%20Anil%20wanwari.jpg?itok=heQoHePx
Competing with Google & FB on free side and with Netflix and Amazon on subscription -- Hotstar CEO Ajit Mohan

One of the early movers in the Indian over the top (OTT) space, Hotstar – - part of the Twenty First Century Fox-owned Star India – has been setting a scorching pace for itself. In a nation where high data costs made customers wary of consuming content when on the move, it displayed a voracious...

Specials Event Coverage VidNet
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/07/22/Sameer_Nair-vidnet17.jpg?itok=D0sNjXrP
ALTBalaji is essentially everything that Balaji on TV is not: Sameer Nair

MUMBAI: It was in the year 1994 that Sameer Nair was hired as a director-producer in the television industry. Shortly later, he became Star Movies' executive producer.

Specials Event Coverage VidNet
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/07/14/arnab.jpg?itok=H4wNrBGe
Republic to debut VR content from August for viewers

English news channel Republic TV will introduce its first set of 10-series VR (virtual reality) news stories for viewers on its digital platform Republic World next month in a move that could probably be a first for an Indian news channel.

Specials Event Coverage VidNet
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/07/14/vidnet_2017_800X800.jpg?itok=Q7p3Y11-
Cable TV, DTH and OTT distribution

MUMBAI: Having an OTT service is not enough; you’ve got to get it out on every outlet possible, is something we all know. But are traditional TV distributors like DTH and cable TV open to giving them carriage? That was the topic of discussion on one of the panels at Indiantelevision.com’s second...

Specials Event Coverage VidNet

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories