Television

SPN India's Rajesh Kaul on TRAI tariff order, Sports Act amendment & OTT threat

Kaul also addressed the question of tech giants vying for sports rights

https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/tv-images/2019/05/07/Rajesh-Kaul.jpg?itok=3-JXaZwg

MUMBAI: Broadcasters, advertisers and media agencies are currently grappling with the impact from the implementation of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s new tariff order. Disruption in the distribution value chain of India’s broadcasting sector has raised several questions. While some ratings agencies have reported a drop in viewership and subscription revenues, there seems to be a lack of unanimity in terms of the overall assessment.

Sony Pictures Networks India chief revenue officer and head – sports business Rajesh Kaul probably understands the TV distribution ecosystem better than most. According to the media veteran, it is too early to comment on the subscription revenue numbers for his company’s sports cluster under the new regime.

“It’s just two months old and we don’t have the complete visibility in terms of reports. Once that happens, we will be in a better position to understand. But, based on what I’ve seen so far I don’t see a major impact,” Kaul said.

The roll-out of the new regulatory framework has resulted in a blackout of channels in several parts of the country. Several consumers have complained to the regulator about distribution platform operators (DPOs) not providing them their preferred channels and packs. Under such circumstances, there’s a theory doing the rounds that unavailability of channels on linear TV will lead to increased content consumption on over-the-top (OTT) platforms, especially when it comes to sports.

“We have put all our live sports content behind a paywall on SonyLIV. That was done because of the TRAI order. So, the consumer will have to pay irrespective of whether the content gets consumed on SonyLIV or our linear channels. So we are fine with that,” Kaul added.

 Earlier in the year, SPN India pulled the plug on Sony Ten Golf HD (along with Sony Le Plex HD and Sony Rox HD) citing “dispersed and niche viewership” as the reason. There’s a widespread belief in the industry that premium and niche channels are likely to be under pressure with the new tariff norms having kicked in. With the power now firmly in the hands of the consumer, are we looking at consolidation in the near future?

“It’s very difficult to say that and too early to answer. But at the same time, the amount of content that we have, roughly around 10,000 hours of live action, at times we feel handicapped with 10 channels. There are so many events taking place simultaneously, there’s sometimes a need for more channels. So, it’s too early to talk about consolidation,” Kaul argued.

Indian sports broadcasting is now an SPN India and Star India duopoly. While former is a dominant force when it comes to cricket outside India, the latter is in the ascendancy when it comes to cricket in India. Both broadcasters, however, have made significant investment with regards to sports rights.

In October last year, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) proposed an amendment to the Sports Act 2007, allowing Doordarshan to air ‘events of national importance’ on private direct-to-home (DTH) and cable networks apart from rebroadcasting on its own terrestrial network and free-to-air (FTA) DTH platform DD Free Dish.

While MIB had sought feedback from stakeholders and has since put the matter on the back burner, an amendment of this nature is likely to impact the revenue of broadcasters.

“I would not like to comment on that. The matter is in the ministry, so let it remain there. As of now they are quiet, so it’s fine,” stated Kaul.

Last year, social media giant Facebook acquired the La Liga’s media rights for the Indian sub-continent for a three-year period. The company also made a very serious play for the Indian Premier League rights, which were eventually snapped up by Star. Globally, e-commerce major Amazon struck a 10-match deal with the Premier League to stream these matches on Amazon Prime Video in 2019. In April 2018, Amazon had also secured the US Open rights for the United Kingdom.

Is it a matter of time before these tech giants bid for FIFA World Cup or ICC Cricket World Cup rights?

“As of now we are not seeing that. As a linear channel, I don’t see a threat from these platforms. Three-four years from now? Maybe, yes. India is a large country, I don’t see OTT as a threat to TV at this point in time, not for the next two-three years,” Kaul explained.

With the emergence of tech titans with deep pockets, there’s a possibility of content acquisition costs skyrocketing.

“I would not comment on that specifically. But overall, rights costs in the last couple of years have not gone up,” he concluded.

Latest Reads

https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/10/16/star.jpg?itok=4eJAHUWG
Star World announces #TheBestBoss contest on World Boss Day

MUMBAI: The Office certainly holds a special place in every fan’s heart for mixing that special mockumentary styled humor no other show has been able to manage. Star World, India’s leading English entertainment channel has brought this rib-tickling comedy series to television screens for the first...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/10/16/cnn.jpg?itok=BEGhasyR
CNN-News18 curate special programming line-up for Assembly Elections 2019

MUMBAI: CNN-News18 has announced extensive programming to apprise the viewers of all the major national and political developments during the elections. After the fierce battle in the Loksabha elections, major political parties have once again geared up for an intense political contest in...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/10/16/net.jpg?itok=vAIIiC0M
Network18 subscription revenue sees 43% YoY growth in Q2 FY20

Network18 Media and Investment has posted 43 per cent YoY growth in subscription revenue in Q2 2020, continuing the 48 per cent growth YoY witnessed in Q1. The company’s digital revenues grew by 10 per cent YoY to Rs 46 crore. Sharp display advertising growth in News18.com (especially vernacular)...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/10/16/dangal-tv.jpg?itok=hSzOHZIK
BARC week 40: Dangal most watched channel across genres

Two channels – Enterr 10 Television’s free to air (Free or FTA) Hindi GEC Dangal and the Sun Tv Network’s flagship Tamil GEC Sun TV having been vying for the top slot in Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARC) weekly lists of Top 10 Channels across genres as mentioned by us earlier.

Television TV Channels Viewership
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/10/16/Bastawalla.jpg?itok=EWO5L1Rg
SPN’s Neville Bastawalla on ‘massification’ of niche sports and Australian Open broadcast extension

Sony Pictures Networks India’s (SPN) sports segment is highly focusing on niche segments and so Tennis Australia and SPN have extended their broadcast deal by three years at the official Australian Open 2020 media launch.

Television TV Channels Sports
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/10/16/chrome.jpg?itok=w9ffptr5
Music genre is top gainer in Chrome DM Week 41

Music genre has become the top gainer in week 41 of Chrome Data Analytics and Media data. The genre grew by 1.01 per cent. In this genre, 9XM channel gained the highest OTS with 97.3 per cent in HSM excluding

Television TV Channels Viewership
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/10/15/spn.jpg?itok=Kc7_kZGS
Sony Pictures Networks India doubles the Joy of Diwali with their #AbIndiaAurBhiHappy offer for its premier channels, Sony Entertainment Television (SET), Sony SAB and Sony MAX

MUMBAI: This festive season, Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) brings cheer to the Hindi entertainment loving Indian viewers through its ‘Ab India aur bhi Happy’ offer. Bringing joy to every household, SPN has announced a special offer, allowing consumers to avail of a festive à-la-carte pricing...

Television TV Channels GECs
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/10/15/epic.jpg?itok=fz5WGrbU
India on a plate: celebrate world food day with Epic Channel

MUMBAI: 16th October 2019 marks the 74th anniversary of the inception of ‘The Food and Agriculture Organization’ of the UN. Since 1979 this historic event has been annually celebrated as World Food Day in over 150 countries. Joining the celebrations, EPIC Channel - India Ka Apna Infotainment -...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/10/15/endemol.jpg?itok=Vz2Ue1JV
Endemol Shine India buys the rights for Richa S. Mukherjee’s Kanpur Khoofiya Pvt. Ltd

MUMBAI : Harper Collins India is thrilled to announce that author Richa Mukherjee’s new novel, Kanpur Khoofiya Pvt. Ltd, published in August this year, has been purchased by Endemol Shine India in a pre-empt. Endemol Shine India buys the rights for Richa S. Mukherjee’s Kanpur Khoofiya Pvt. Ltd...

Television TV Channels GECs

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories