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Indian parliament passes digitalisation bill

Tuesday 13 Dec 2011
The much-awaited Cable TV Networks Regulation Amendment Bill was finally passed by the Indian lower house of parliament today, paving the way for the next digital wave in the country, NDTV reports.

SBS-Australia Michael Ebeid

The move will cheer investors of DTH operators and Multiple System Operators like Den Network and Hathway Cables.

The Bill aims to digitalise India’s vast cable TV network by the end of 2014.

The cable networks in the four metros will be digitalised by the end of June 2012. Currently, the total TV household subscriber base is 135 million out of which close to 110 million are analogue subscribers.

With this Bill being passed, nearly 80 percent of the subscribers who are under-declared in the analogue regime will be forced to go digital, translating into higher revenues across the chain.

The move is also expected to benefit broadcasters as it will help de-risk their revenue base by increased subscription revenues through advertising revenues.

While this move is expected to be a win-win for all stakeholders, it has faced stiff opposition from local cable operators who will be compelled to align with MSOs.  

With digitalisation, viewers stand to benefit with more channels and better quality viewing. But with the high capital requirement for digitalisation, it is going to be a cash-guzzling task.