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Adieu 2015!

The Indian broadcast industry bids adieu to 2015 on a mixed note. Brimming with emerging technologies and backed by stupendous growth of digital media, the industry continues to find the going challenging.

There has been a major transformation in the way content is delivered. It is migrating from traditional broadcasting models to a widening array of connected devices over the Internet. The main four drivers propelling growth are a hunger for consumption, increasing ad spends, digitization and disruptive content, and OTT.

The ministry of commerce and industry has allowed an increase of 100 percent in foreign direct investment for setting up teleports, DTH, cable networks, and HITS. The foreign investment limit in the uplinking of news/current affairs TV channels and FM radio broadcasting services has been raised to 49 percent. On uplinking of non-news channels and on downlinking of all channels, FDI can go up to 100 percent now. Whether this change in policy succeeds in attracting foreign investment remains to be seen.

The ongoing digitization of cable continues to progress. However, the promise of addressability, greater transparency, and higher ARPUs is yet to be realized. As the industry moves into the last two phases of digitization (phases III and IV), an uptick in activation revenues is expected. This, coupled with the scale-up in the broadband business segment as operators continue to make incremental investments toward higher penetration in digitized markets, augurs well for revenue growth.

DTH operators continue to improve realizations by increasing penetration of HD channels, premium channels, and value-added services. DTH players are also well positioned for tapping growth opportunities in DAS phases III and IV markets due to inherent technology advantage over MSOs and easier access to cable-dark areas.

The year 2016 shall see activity on the FM phase III front. Radio stations will be set up, equipment ordered, and some foreign investment may come in too. Indigenous production of set-top boxes is also on the anvil. The Rs. 100 crore fund set up by the department of electronics and information technology will provide the requisite impetus.

We wish our readers Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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