FICCI seeks road map for digitization to boost broadcast sector

MUMBAI:. At the recently concluded FICCI FRAMES 2010 conference which was attended by more than 600 representatives from the broadcast sector, top honchos and industry representatives deliberated on the pressing issues in over five sessions that were exclusively devoted to the broadcast sector.

Based on the industry’s feedback, FICCI Secretary General Dr Amit Mitra said, “Self regulation for the sector as already implemented by the sector, rather than imposing new regulations in the form of content code and policing in the sector, a clear road map for digitization are the main elements which will give a boost to the broadcast sector and will be the key growth drivers.”


Broadcast and Television sector comprise over 43 per cent of the overall pie of the M&E sector. The total size the Indian M&E industry is INR 587 billion and the Television sector accounts for INR 257 billion. The broadcast sector is on a strong growth path and the outlook for ad spends is bright for the TV sector.


Times TV Group MD & CEO Sunil Lulla enumerated some interesting facts like the fact that the top line grew from Rs 16000 million to Rs 82000 million in 2010 at a growth rate of 39 % and the costs grew from 11000 million to 77000 in 2010 at 31 %. Hence the EBITA grew at 19 % only. However, he said there is hope for the industry as NSE and BSE grew at 22% and 21% respectively and the market valuation of TV Broadcasting market valuation grew by 34%.


An interesting panel comprising of Lulla, Turner International India Pvt. Ltd MD Anshuman Misra, NDTV Group Group CEO & executive director KVL Narayan Rao,  Sun Network COO Ajay Vidyasagar, Viacom18 Group COO & Colors CEO Rajesh Kamat spoke about where the profitability in the TV industry can come from.


“While FICCI acknowledges the series of policy initiatives taken by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and that have led to growth of this sector in the last decade, greater commitment on part of the government along with some more enabling regulatory corrections is the need of the hour,” says Dr. Mitra.


Feature enhancements, such as the ability to purchase and manage ringtones and ringback tones from within the application, are also planned. Although FICCI is in favor of creating an independent and autonomous Broadcast regulator which would help spear head India in the broadcast and new media space, we would also want complete self regulation doctrine for the sector rather than imposing new regulations in the form of content code and policing in the sector. This, many in the industry feel, would harm the growth of the sector.


"We are in favor of self regulation in broadcast sector and content code. Already, News Broadcasters Association (NBA) has a self regulation code of ethics and broadcast standards for news channels. Indian Broadcaster Foundation has initiated self regulation code for broadcasters to have checks and balances. This would pave for healthy growth of the sector," adds Dr Mitra.


The broadcast fraternity is unanimously in favor of self-regulation. The big broadcasters have their own content code and all stakeholders should come to an agreement with the self regulation code developed by IBF for member broadcasters, says FICCI.


FICCI feels that given the competition prevailing in the market, there is pressure on profitability of broadcasters. Weak infrastructure is another area which should be looked into by the government. Efforts must also be made to improve the reportage of cable subscription in the country. Further, a clear roadmap from the government on the digitalization process would make a positive impact on the broadcast sector.


The biggest story of the year was clearly digitization and DTH has led the digital distribution process. Industry has witnessed tremendous growth on the DTH front with 16 million subscribers being added in the last three years. With over 43 million DTH subscribers expected by 2014, India will become the world’s largest DTH subscriber nation. This will push the cable sector to digitize faster and bring down under declaration of subscriber base.


FICCI is also in favor of increasing the number of boxes for Television Measurement System and suggests that consumer growth in new towns should be taken into consideration for TRP measurement.