'A revolutionary year that was also one of the government's total failure to control the broadcasters'


After working for decades on the analogue system, 2007 was a huge learning year. Whether from the regulator or from the ministry's side, or from the Prime Minister's Office, this was a revolutionary year.

The major thing, of course, was the implementation of CAS, though implementation was partial, but this implementation was a slap on the face of people who put in all their efforts to derail it. More than anyone else, even more than the broadcasters, the ones who tried their level best to stop CAS were the distributors of the MSOs.

Broadcasters and distributors both lose out if CAS comes in, and the broadcasters are hit because they are earning both from subscription as well as advertisement, and now SMS revenue stream.

One of the ugliest efforts for derailing CAS this year was the press conference and the false survey report shown by a section of the NGO called VOICE. They said 70 per cent of the CAS subscribers wanted to go back to the old ways, but now it is clear that the so-called survey had been sponsored by a broadcaster and everyone knows who that is.

It is the advertisers who would have gained because as of now they do not know where their money is going and where they should actually put that in, and SMS in CAS regime would tell the real story. This is why various advertiser groups have come in support of Cas.

From the content side, again this was a very important year. The viewers were very unhappy with news content and the government tried to do something but eventually failed.

All these news broadcasters are launching channels every day not to inform the people but to have more and more power, sometimes using that power to blackmail politicians and officials. There is an attempt to capture the media and have clout. If they were serious news people, then one broadcaster would not launch two or three news channels. They are also now launching regional news channels because they want to capture power area-wise and rule there. Apart from earning money, they want to control the mindset of the people.

The government's attempts to control these news channels failed miserably because the channels formed a strong lobby against the Content Code suggested by the government. This shows that the government is able to control only the farmer or the last mile operator, the cablewallah. Because as per the Cable Act, only the LMO will be targeted, whether it is for programming content that is unacceptable or the advertisements shown, over which last mile has no control.

The LMOs do not have too much money, so they lose out in courts because they cannot hire top lawyers, and they cannot lobby with the government because they are not always qualified people or have a political clout. That is why they are the least heard, but this year, that is one big thing that has happened: the government, whether in the ministry or Telecom Regulatory Authority have at least started hearing us. I will tell you how.

One of the most dangerous things that happened in this year is the total vertical integration of companies who have a finger in all the pies, being broadcasters, running MSOs, getting into DTH, IPTV and mobile TV. The government has failed to take steps against this monopolisation. Their officers are trying but the politicians are not allowing this.

But two very important positives things happened this year, and if we have not started running, we have taken a few right steps. We are trying to control the broadcasters through some NGOs, and the government has started listening to us. They may not be doing much, but they are surely listening.

One is the Content Code, and the second is digitalisation, which will help people watch more and more channels. The PMO has formed a committee on digitalisation. The other good thing is that the I&B ministry is trying its best to bring down the duties on the equipment, though finance ministry is not in a mood to listen.

Latest Reads

Casbaa becomes the Asia Video Industry Association

At an Extraordinary General Meeting of members today, Casbaa overwhelmingly approved the adoption of a new constitution and new name.

Specials Event Coverage Occasions
Wizcraft’s 4th broadway styled bollywood musical stage show comes to kingdom of dream

After a glorious run in Mumbai with over 100 shows, Balle Balle - The Biggest and Craziest Indian Wedding Musical theatrical show, is all set to woo audiences in Delhi NCR.

Specials Event Coverage Occasions
ConnecTechAsia Successful in Bridging the Digital Divide for Governments, Cities and Enterprises with Showcase of Latest Tech and Trends

ConnecTechAsia, the inaugural mega technology event comprising BroadcastAsia, CommunicAsia and the new NXTAsia wrapped up last week after an exciting three days of exhibitions and a summit covering the latest innovations in cloud, blockchain, AI, VR/AR, IoT, robotics, 5G, IP broadcasting, OTT and...

Specials Event Coverage Occasions
Lessons Learned With Bitcoin

Blockchain technology is one of the newest buzzwords in business. It is hardly surprising considering that the tech is having such an impact over so many different industries.

Specials Promonet feature
The company is collaborating with Lakme Fashion Week and designer Anita Dongre

World Environment Day - 2018 is going to be special as India is hosting global celebrations of the event today. To commemorate the occasion, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has launched a special T-shirt, branded ?The Earth Tee? and designed by renowned fashion designer Anita Dongre, under its unique...

Specials Event Coverage Occasions
Promaxbda India 2018 announces Puja Vohra and Glenn Urquhart as their masterclass speakers

PromaxBDA India has announced its first 2 Masterclass speakers for the 15th edition of its annual conference and awards property in India, which will take place on 23rd May 2018. Speaking at the Masterclass are truTV?s Puja Vohra and creative mastermind Glenn Urquhart.

Specials Event Coverage Occasions
ABBY Awards 2018 shortlists announced

The coveted ABBY Awards that recognizes and rewards excellence across Advertising, Marketing and Media has now announced that the shortlists for the 2018 edition have started being posted, by category.

Specials Event Coverage Occasions
Ficci Frames and market concludes on grand note

The FICCI Frames and the newly launched content market as part of FICCI Frames 2018 concluded on a grand note.

Specials Event Coverage Ficci Frames
Screen Density: Lessons from the world & Exploring new business models

n Day 2 of FICCI FRAMES happening in Mumbai, there was a session on Screen Density in India attended by some eminent panelists consisting of Mr. William Feng, VP, Greater China, MPA, Kurt Rieder, Head-Theatrical Asia, 20th Century Fox, Kapil Agarwal, Joint MD, UFO, Kamal Gianchandani, Chief of...

Specials Event Coverage Ficci Frames

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories