This month, the curtain falls on Analog Cable TV, in India. The entire country is to shift to digital CATV from April. Can this genuinely be achieved? It has taken more than 3 years, to install 70 million Cable TV STBs, to date. Compulsory digitisation in DAS..........
MAHAVEER DIGITAL SEALED - ILLEGAL CHANNEL
The government is taking stern action against any headend that carries an unauthorised TV channel. There are several satellite channels that carry anti national content. These channels are not on the approved channels list of licensed TV channels, issued by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.
Authorities have sealed the DAS headend of Odisha based MSO - Mahaveer Digital for telecasting an unauthorised satellite channel.
The Jajpur-based MSO, owned by Jatindra Sahoo, was issued a provisional licence on 17 November for operating in the entire state of Odisha. Last year, the MIB wrote to the Jajpur collectorate in Odisha to check on the MSOs showing unauthorised TV channels in Odisha. On 27 December, the Jajpur collectorate sent a letter to the concerned officials to enquire into the matter and submit a report.
The name of the channel has not been disclosed.
SC QUESTIONS RADIO NEWS BAN
Responding to a Public Interest Litigation by NGO Common Cause, a Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud has questioned the government why private sector radio stations are prohibited from carrying news bulletins.
The court directed the government to explain in 4 weeks the series of orders passed between 2008 and 2013 preventing private radio from airing their own news and current affairs broadcasts.
The government's prohibition, Common Cause argued, was in clear violation of the Supreme Court's landmark verdict in 1995 in the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting vs Cricket Association of Bengal when the court had held that "airwaves are public property to be used to promote public good and expressing a plurality of views, opinions and ideas". That judgment had led to the passing of the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act 1995.
Common Cause pleased the new gag on radio was a violation the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression as guaranteed under Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution.
There are already more than 400 private sector TV News channels, and it seems incongruent that private sector radio stations are prohibited from carrying any news, even retransmitting AIR new bulletins.
ENTERTAINMENT TAX COLLECTIONS
The I&B ministry has released figures for entertainment tax collected from 8 states, since 2012.
The Maharashtra Government has reaped Rs. 114.07 Crores as Entertainment tax in 2015-16. This is the highest collected by any state.
3 NEW TV LICENCES IN JAN
Star India subsidiary Asianet Communications has been licensed to launch the HD version of its Kannada GEC Star Suvarna.
It will be priced at Rs. 25 on Reference Interconnect Offer (RIO), which is the same price as all its other regional HD channels.
Currently, Star India owns and operates 26 HD channels & is planning to launch a premium HD movie channel Star Gold Select HD.
Besides Star Suvarna HD, the MIB granted 2 more TV channel licences in January: V
RL Media has been granted licence to launch new channel Dighvijay TV &
Parshavnath Medias received a license for Jai Paras TV, a non-news channel.
There are 889 Indian licensed satellite TV channels. This includes 392 news and 497 nonnews TV channels.
HOMESHOP18 LAYS OFF 200
Homeshop18, the home shopping channel of Network18 has laid off close to 200 of its 600 staff in an effort to reduce operational costs. The layoffs are across all levels.
Homeshop18's losses mounted to Rs. 84.2 crore for the period ended March 2016, compared with Rs. 174.9 crore in FY15. The company saw a 13% drop in revenues to Rs. 390.4 in FY16 against Rs. 449 crore in FY15.
Homeshop18 recorded over 22 lakh transactions for the quarter ended September 30, 2016. It reported a cumulative customer base of 19.9 million in the quarter compared to 15.8 million Q2FY16 and 18.9 million in Q1FY17.
RELIANCE DTH: NO NEW SUBS
Reliance Digital TV - the DTH platform owned and operated by Anil Ambani's Reliance Communications has been floundering. Reports are that the DTH platform is up for sale but there are no takers.
According to figures released for the quarter ended 31 December 2016, the DTH platform has not added a single new subscriber for 4 quarters in a row. Reliance DTH claims to maintain its 5 million DTH subscribers.
In the same quarter, Dish TV had added 204,000 net subscribers, Airtel Digital TV had added 183,000 net subscribers & Videocon d2h had 0.25 million new (net) subscribers.
DEMONITISATION: BITTER PILL
Demonetisation is a "bitter pill" to treat illnesses and will reap benefits in longer run, according to Union minister for I&B and Urban Development - M Venkaiah Naidu.
"Several views have been presented on demonetisation, it may have caused initial discomfort or loss to public but will reap benefits in longer run. It is like a bitter pill for long term ill," Mr Naidu said. "Black money is eating our economic system, now the money is back in the bank, people have been joking about it but soon it will be a welcome back situation for black money," he added.
Mr Naidu made the comments while addressing students at Delhi University's Hansraj College at an event on financial literacy organised by the college's Finance and Investment Cell.
SPECTRANET IN BANGALURU
Spectranet is now expanding its operations in South India and has commenced Broadband services in Bangaluru. Roll out of its services has commenced in Bannerghatta, Electronic City, Kundalhalli, Bellandur and other areas will be added soon.
Spectranet managing director & CEO Udit Mehrotra said "Bengaluru being the IT hub of the country was our natural choice to begin our foray into the southern markets."
One of the first 100% optical fibre broadband service providers, Spectranet company offers truly unlimited usage with symmetric speed of 100 Mbps which means that the users will get both 100Mbps upload and download speeds. The company offers next generation fiber broadband services with a capability of offering 1 Gbps speeds for residential and 10 Gbps for business customers.
TV CHANNELS UPLINKING EASED
The I&B ministry has eased clearances required for TV channels that are uplinking their content via approved teleports.
Current regulations require every channel to obtain clearances from:
1. Ministry of Home Affairs
2. Dept. of Space (DoS)
Vide the I&B ministry's February 2017 order, TV channels will no longer require Clearence from DoS, if the teleport or DSNG (Digital Satellite News Gathering) van used by the channel for uplinking, has been licensed by the Indian government. The uplinking license includes DoS clearance.
MAA TV REBRANDED STAR MAA
Two years after acquiring Maa TV Network's broadcast business for approximately $346 million (approx. Rs. 2,250 Crore) in cash, Star India has rebranded the Telugu channel Star Maa. Star Maa will be Star India's flagship Telugu channel.
VERY POOR DAS-3 RESULTS ?
Speakers at a conference organised by Aavishkaar, in New Delhi, expressed concerns about the poor seeding of STBs in DAS phase-3 and even questioned the government's claims that DAS-3 had seeded 100% STBs.
Cable TV veteran Lt. Colonel V C Khare (retired) who chaired the session on "DAS Implementation - Miles To Go Before We Sleep?"•said that only 22% STB seeding had been achieved in DAS-3 homes, against the government's claims of almost total seeding.
SitiCable Networks CEO V D Wadhwa also agreed that there were "gaps" in Phase III, and SitiCable had yet to seed another 2,50,000 STBs. But, he welcomed DAS, though he felt that earning money from the amounts invested in digitisation was a challenge.
Yogendra Pal - advisor (DAS) in the I&B ministry admitted the fourth phase of digital addressable system for cable television was the most difficult. He however was emphatic that there was "No going back, on the 31st March 2017 deadline for analog switch off." Pal agreed that there were difficulties because several MSOs were reluctant to set up Headends in far out rural areas, as the fourth and final phase only covers rural areas. He admitted that a new case had been filed in Telangana, which pointed out that while there was clear reference to switching to DAS in Section 4A, there was no reference to switching off analogue signals. This case had been filed by a party not involved with the cable TV business.