An Eventful Month

As the Mobile World Congress came to an end in Barcelona on March 2, the broadcasting industry went home with some important takeaways too.

With video presenting a USD 1 trillion revenue opportunity globally, and the entertainment component being a whopping USD 650 billion, the mobile services providers are looking to capitalizing on the opportunity. They will position themselves as a one-stop-shop for the broadest possible range of video content. They will look to partner with content producers and content aggregators, as well as take on the role of billing the end user for accessing all that content. This would no doubt require the video industry to change the way they bring their content to market. The Indian telcos already boast average download speeds as high as 8.42 mbps.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the US communications regulator, announced a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NRPM) on the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) 3.0 standard. This is an important step in the deployment of several new broadcast services. Once it is implemented, it would enable TV broadcast of any favorite show and any new program to be delivered in ultra-high definition and immersive audio, and programming to be hyper-localized.

Back home, February saw some interesting developments. The second batch of FM Phase-III auctions concluded with the government netting in Rs.200 crore, albeit there were no takers for 200 channels.

The cable TV prices are expected to decrease in response to the three guidelines relating to digital addressable system issued by the TRAI on March 3 – the tariff order, the interconnection regulations, and the standards of quality of service and consumer protection regulations.

Cable TV digitization in Phases III and IV seems to be receiving a serious setback with MSOs not finding it a viable proposition.

BARC India data revealed a 19 percent increase of total TV homes in India with a larger growth in rural homes, changing the split ratio from 50:50 to 46:54. And within the urban areas, faster growth occurred in NCCS B and C, thus increasing the share of the middle class.

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