The regulatory changes in the DTH and the broadcasting industry have been very impactful in recent times. Right on from the new Trai tariff regime or the QoS regulations put forth by the regulatory, these laws have changed the shape of the industry. However, while the DTH industry and the DTH companies hog the limelight when it comes to broadcasting, the cable TV services cannot entirely be ignored. These companies are responsible for providing TV services in the interior parts of India, especially in the rural regions where the DTH services are not present. Also, in some areas of India, cable TV services totally dominate the local TV scene. On this note, the digitisation of cable TV services is still going on. While in the first, second and third phase of digitisation, there has been 100% progress, with all the households, using a digital Set-Top Box, such is not the case for rest of India. The ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) has shared some new data on this front.
Cable TV Connections Stand at 11.7 Crore
As per the data shared by the Information and Broadcasting minister, Prakash Javadekar, who shared the data while answering questions in the Lok Sabha, the ministry has revealed that there are 11.7 crore cable TV subscribers in the country right now. This data is available from the seeding data available for the multi-system operators (MSOs) and local cable operators (LCOs). During the questions, the minister also added that further data would be available once the digitation of the cable TV subscribers is complete in India.
Digitisation Happening in Four Stages
According to the minister, the digitation of the cable TV connections was to happen in four stages. These four stages included Phase-I in the four metro cities, Phase-II in 38 cities with a population of more than 10 lacs, Phase-III which included all other urban areas Municipal Corporation Municipalities and the Phase - IV which basically includes the rest of the country. Out of these four phases, the first three have been completed entirely, meaning that 100% of the population in the first three strata is using digitised cable TV connections. As for the last one, Javadekar has said that the current progress is more than 90%.
The I&B minister also noted that because of the implementation of the Digital Addressable System (DAS) in India, every Multi-System Operator or Local Cable Operator (LCO) is required to install a Subscriber Management System (SMS) which is responsible for recording the number of subscribers under the operator. There is also the Management Information System (MIS) which is developed by the ministry itself, wherein all the operators are entering the seeding information of the cable TV connections. These operators are also updating the seeding states of the Set-Top Boxes (STBs).
Phase 4 of Digitisation Nearing Completion
To recall, the phase I of the digitisation was completed back in October 31, 2012. Out of the four metro cities, digitisation was near complete in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. Later on, Chennai also underwent digitisation after several court cases were disposed of. In phase I, about 1.42 crore STBs were installed across the four cities. Maximum number of STBs were installed in Delhi at 50 lakhs, followed by 29 lakhs in Mumbai, 38 lakh in Kolkata and 24s lakh in Chennai. The data for phase 2, which was concluded by March 31, 2013, in 38 cities spanning across 14 States and one Union Territory, was not provided.