MUMBAI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chairman J S Sarma announced complete switch over from analog to digital broadcast signals in the country in a phased manner by December 2013.
Addressing industry leaders at the CII organized conference on Managing Digital Media and Entertainment Business in the Digital Era, Sarma called for support from industry in one voice for the digital switch over.
"We are forward looking and pro active on regulation on digitalisation," he said.
The broadcast industry leaders welcomed the recommendation by TRAI as they were expecting digital switch over by 2017. TRAI’s final consultation paper on digitalisation wil be released next week, said Sarma.
Empahsising that human capital would ride technology, CII National Committee on Media & Entertainment chairman and Reliance Big Entertainment chairman Amit Khanna maintained that media companies have to transform from products to relationship with audience in the future. He said there is extreme polarization and predicted more event based (FIFA World Cup, Avatar, 3 Idiots) things in the emerging digital world.
"We are moving away from economy of attention to economy of in attention and there is too much distractions," Khanna said.
UTV Software Communications chairman and CEO Ronnie Screwvala said that with the spurt in the number of DTH households in India, the overall industry has witnessed a remarkable growth in the country. "The industry has witnessed tremendous growth on the DTH front and India will emerge as the world’s largest DTH subscribed nation when it surpasses (32 million US DTH subscribers) in the next 12 months. India has a DTH subscriber base of around 25 million in just four years," he said.
Madison World chairman and managing director Sam Balsara cited that digitisation and advertising have a direct link to a considerable extent. "Digitalisation holds the key to the rate at which advertising will grow. Earlier for the media the revenue model was 50:50 i.e. 50% revenue from readers and 50% from advertisements. However, today the ratio is 80:20 i.e. 80% revenue from advertisements and 20% revenue from the readers. This equation has tremendous debilitating effect as an increased load on advertising will reduce the rate of returns for the advertisers. The economic returns to Indian advertisers are not as high as compared to other countries due to the 80:20 ratio. Digitalisation will help balance the ratio, efficiency and effectiveness and improve returns for advertisers,” Balsara said.
Speaking of digitalization of Pay TV, Tata Sky CEO Vikram Kausik said, "Digitalisation today is inevitable and the scale and potential of the volume of this business in India is huge. However, the players in this sector with a focus on achieving this volume are adopting disastrous margin cuts which are leading to very low average revenue returns for the industry. The major challenge of digitalising is the fragmented economy, due to which the industry is losing large amounts of money. It is critical for proper implementation of digitalisation it has to be mandated."
Throwing light on the business model for the social gaming industry, UTV Indiagames founder and CEO Vishal Gondal said, "In the social gaming industry business models are changing every day and content is becoming the game changer. Today users want everything free thus in this industry Freemium is the New premium!! Revenue generation in this scenario is challenging, however the industry has also monetized on this challenge. Although 85% are free users of the social gaming industry, they act as viral/marketing agents and popularize the platform and these users can be enticed to various advertisements and offerings. 12% users engage in micro transactions and 3% are premium subscribers.Thus ensuring that the industry earn revenue from users as well as from advertisers."