Companies & Sectors
Mandatory digitisation beneficial for Indian cable industry

The compulsory digitisation will pave the way out for economic retention for the sector which is highly fragmented due analog mode of distribution.

Once the mandatory digitisation of the cable television materializes, the Indian Cable and Satellite industry (C&S) will be benefited by gaining double digital subscriber base, say experts. They believe that players like Dish TV, Den Network, and Dish TV will huge business opportunities.
 
The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Bill 2011 was passed by the Lok Sabha on 13th December with aim of digitising the cable sector by the end of 2014.  Apart from compulsory digitisation, the amendment include efficient registration of cable operators, mandatory transmission of some TV channels, inspection of cable network services and usage of standard equipment among others. TRAI will regulate the service tier and the tariff.
 
Indian C&S industry is the third largest in world with around 136 million homes having cable or satellite TV. According to report by PINC Research, Going forward digital subscriber base in India is expected to rise to 83 million by 2015 from 47 million at present, at 21% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR).

An analyst tracking the sector from a Mumbai-based broking firm says that, “Out of the 123 million households having cable TV, 88 million are using analog platform. So the opportunity is huge as all of them would be converted to digital platform. In my sense, in the first phase itself, around 20-22 million customers will benefit from the move. Both multi system operators (MSOs) and direct to home (DTH) players will have incremental customer base. Though, one has to wait and watch to see, who among the incumbents wins.”
 
Currently the sector faces has high competition from the local cable operator (LCO), who often under report the customer base. “Digitisation is bound to reduce the incidence of under-reporting – the bane of the Indian C&S industry.  High operating leverage business model will be the key driver for organised cable players and DTH operators in magnifying their operating margins. We see major players in DTH segment and organized MSOs to breakeven by 2013,” says the PINC report.
 
The compulsory digitisation will pave the way out for economic retention for the sector which is highly fragmented due analog mode of distribution.
 
Earlier IDFC Securities, in a research report had said, “We believe that the regulatory trigger will change the TV distribution industry dynamics from here on. Our sense is that while both MSOs as well as DTH players will capitalise on the mandatory digitised environment, the delta gains will be far sharper for nationalised MSOs such as DEN and Hathway. Against a backdrop of extremely poor execution and muted subscriber addition of less than 0.5 million subscribers annually, we now foresee a near 3x jump in digital subscriber addition for these MSOs in the next 12-18 months.”

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Rahul Gandhi's idea fails like his father's Panchayati Raj Bill

It was a repeat of the scenes in Rajya Sabha in 1989 when the Opposition combined to defeat the statute amendment bill to confer Constitutional status to Panchayat Raj institutions. Soon after the defeat, Rajiv Gandhi, the then Prime Minister dissolved Lok Sabha and went to polls which his party lost

New Delhi: In a strange coincidence, Rahul Gandhi's idea of conferring Constitutional status on Lokpal failed in the Lok Sabha much like his father Rajiv Gandhi's Panchayati Raj Bill 22 years ago, reports PTI.

A BJP MP sought to strike an ominous note of coincidence claiming that government of the day was not lucky whenever the Lokpal Bill was taken up and on occasions, the Lok Sabha was also dissolved.

The Constitution (116th Amendment) Bill to confer Constitutional status on Lokpal was defeated in the Lok Sabha late last night by a determined Opposition, helped by the absence of parties supporting the government from outside like SP, BSP and RJD.

It was a repeat of the scenes in Rajya Sabha in 1989 when the Opposition combined to defeat the statute amendment bill to confer Constitutional status to Panchayat Raj institutions.

Soon after the Rajiv Gandhi, the then Prime Minister dissolved Lok Sabha and went to polls which his party lost. But a bill to confer Constitutional status to Panchayati Raj instititutions was passed after the Congress returned to power in 1991.

About the other coincidence, BJP Deputy Leader in the Rajya Sabha SS Ahluwalia claims that when Parliament had taken up the Lokpal Bill for considerations, there were occasions when the Lok Sabha got dissolved.

He said this has been the case since 1968. That year, The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill was introduced on May nine. It was referred to the Select Committee of Parliament.

It was passed in the Lok Sabha as "The Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 1969" on 20 August 1969. However, before this Bill could be passed by the Rajya Sabha, the Fourth Lok Sabha was dissolved and consequently this Bill lapsed.

Then on 11 August 1971 another Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill was introduced. It was neither referred to any Committee, nor passed by any House. It lapsed consequent upon the dissolution of the Fifth Lok Sabha.

Later, the Lokpal bill was brought on 28 July 1977. It was referred to a Joint Select Committee of both the Houses of Parliament. Before the recommendations of the Joint Select Committee could be considered, the Sixth Lok Sabha was dissolved and consequently this Bill also lapsed.

The Lokpal Bill, 1985 was introduced on 28th August that year and referred to a Joint Select Committee of Parliament. However, the Bill was withdrawn by the then Government because of its inadequacy to cover different types of situations.

While withdrawing it, the Government of the day said it would later come forward with a comprehensive legislation to deal with redress of public grievances.

The Lokpal Bill came again in 1989 as it was introduced on 29th December. However, the Bill lapsed consequent upon the dissolution of the Ninth Lok Sabha on 13 March 1991.

The United Front government introduced yet another bill on the issue on 13 September 1996. It was referred to the Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs for examination and report. The Standing Committee presented its report to Parliament on 9 May 1997 making wide ranging amendments to the various provisions of the Bill.

Before the Government could finalise its stand on the various recommendations of the Standing Committee, the Eleventh Lok Sabha was dissolved.

The last such measure was brought on 14 August 2001 by the BJP-led NDA Government. It was referred to the Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs for examination and report but the Government bowed out of office in May 2004.

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Anna Hazare calls off fast

The 74-year-old activist made the surprise announcement midway through his three-day fast at MMRDA grounds which reported poor attendance of people for the second continuous day

Mumbai: Smarting under poor response and bad health, Anna Hazare on Wednesday called off his fast a day ahead of schedule and repeated his threat to campaign against Congress in the five poll-bound states for not brining a strong Lokpal, reports PTI.

The 74-year-old activist made the surprise announcement midway through his three-day fast at MMRDA grounds which reported poor attendance of people for the second continous day, in stark contrast the mass swelling in Delhi earlier this year during his three fasts.

Mr Hazare did not make any reference to the earlier plans of coming to Delhi for a dharna of the residence of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and about the jail bharo agitation (filling up of jails) after that.

"...Whatever we are seeing today in Parliament is tragic. So I have decided to call off the fast today. There is only one way now. We will make a programme in the five states and go and awaken people there. I will tell them don't vote for traitors," he told a sparsely attended protest meeting in the afternoon.

"Now two years are left for the general elections. In between, I will go to various parts of the country and keep awakening the people till next general elections," he said.

The ending of the fast by Mr Hazare, who was having fever of 100 degree F, came after doctors advised him to call off his protest saying continuing it will lead to kidney failure.

Mr Hazare said he was already fasting four days before the start of the protest strike Tuesday in Mumbai.

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