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Media Monday: is TV industry going in wrong direction?

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TV has been in news these days. We hear some good and bad news everyday- either related to technology of TV broadcasting or content of TV shows or new regulations which come out almost every month. But amid all this fuss, my question is whether our TV industry is heading in right direction or not? In my opinion its still in a testing phase and needs to take some right steps to make sure that all technological advances its making, don’t get wasted.

Read this:

There is a worldwide shift towards broadcasting on advanced, addressable and interactive platforms. While the session Transforming Television: from HDTV, Interactive TV, PVRS, VOD and Beyond brought points and counterpoints on to the table, there was clearly one theme emerging: that adoption of technology, particularly digitalisation in the Indian context, was benefic ial for all. –Source.

Digitisation is one key ray of hope for all Broadcasters who want to increase their ARPU (Average revenue per user). But digitisation alone can’t help Broadcasters much unless regulations are made to ease pressure on DTH providers. But one good news is that unlike internet, DTH has been able to grow much faster in India. So digitisation may be difficult from IPTV point of View but DTH may take a leap here. The only problem it needs to solve is adoption. They need to educate end users in a better way as to why they should switch from Analog to Digital while paying premium costs.

Now in other news:

In the US, the broadcaster gets around 40 per cent of the subscription revenue while in India it is only 15 per cent. Indian channels have to find a way to reduce their dependence on advertising. In the US, 20 per cent of ad budgets have been diverted towards new media. That could happen in India as well in a few years.Source.

Such type of news can be disturbing and confusing for Indian TV industry. DTH industry currently accounts for around 15 million subscribers and Internet penetration is nearly 45 Million. Its apparent that DTH will grow faster than internet, hence I don’t see any major shift in advertising budget for TV industry in India. Unlike US and other western markets India is yet to see any major growth in internet ad industry. I think broadcasters should focus on implementing DTH at lower costs without worrying about the losing revenue towards newer media.

To confuse you more:

Traditional media owners need to form a partnership with user generated content (UGC) sites to serve their consumers….

…. Balika Vadu, for instance, is one of the top viewed videos on Youtube in India, demonstrating how traditional media can pull new media.

..NDTV has a channel on YouTube and there is revenue sharing for ads. However if NDTV content is uploaded outside this channel, then there is leakage that happens.  –Source.

Who you think would most likely to watch “Balika Vadhu” on Youtube? Yes, NRIs. Most of the Indian internet users won’t look for a daily soap on youtube. Now what’s the point in creating a channel and hoping to generate revenues through ads, online? One reason might be that they want to tap growing activity over internet, but worrying about copyrights and other legal stuff won’t help them. Piracy will continue in the form of user generated content and even I would prefer to watch a video where I can see no ad before the actual video starts.

Broadcaster’s focus at this point should be on content and its delivery. The issue is not that people don’t have access to “Balika Vadhu” or they are dying to see a digital version of “Balika Vadhu”. The issue lies in targeting right people with right content at right time. Why India is different from elsewhere, when it comes to TV content? Simple. We have 400 Channels in 10 different languages over 25 regions. I may like “Balika Vadhu” but most of the audiences in Chennai may be completely unaware of it.

My suggestion would be to analyze India as a different market and don’t compare it with US or China. Make your own strategy and ask for regulations from Govt which will help you in getting more subscribers and not in saving you from copyright infringements.

As a regular TV viewer what’s your take on this?

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