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Broadcasters are missing the big picture (INTERVIEW: AJAI PURI)
Bharti Airtel’s direct-to-home venture Digital TV wants the government and the regulator to do more to help digitalisation of cable sector. Airtel DTH director & chief executive Ajai Puri said the broadcasters are missing the big picture by opposing Trai’s latest tariff order for addressable platforms including DTH. Puri tells Ashish Sinha how the DTH industry can solve the ills of cable sector if supported by regulations and tariff regime. Excerpts:

Why are broadcasters against Trai’s DTH tariff order?

Broadcasters are posturing, I feel. So far, the negotiated deals between DTH operators and broadcasters stood at 15-20% of non-CAS rates. Therefore, a ceiling of 35% does not matter. DTH has overnight started generating revenues of Rs 1,200-1,300 crore annually. Broadcasters love us. We pay them every month and DTH is a completely transparent system which gives an incremental revenue to broadcasters. So I don’t understand why they should be upset. I think its just posturing on their part. There are several broadcasters who are in favour of Trai’s order.

In their opposition to Trai’s tariff order, have broadcasters missed the big pictures?

Yes. The cable market today covers about 100 million homes from which the broadcasters generate subscription revenue of around Rs 200-250 crore per month. This comes to Rs 20-25 per month per cable home. All bouquets put together are priced at about Rs 1,400. So against Rs 1,400 for all channels, broadcasters generate Rs 20-25 per month from cable homes which is not an efficient model because against the 100 million homes, the money is accounted from only 10-12 million homes due to under declaration by cable operators.

Full Story: Indian DTH Blog

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