Thursday, 28 February 2013

Budget 2013: Import Duty Up On Set-Top Boxes Increased

The Union Budget 2013 has bought some good news for the domestic set top box manufacturing companies in India. Finance Minister P Chidambaram has unveiled the Union Budget 2013 in the Parliament on 28 February 2013. The minister has announced an increase in the import duty of set top boxes. With the country now heading for the Phase II digitization the Budget 2013-14 has proposed an increase in the import duty of Set-top boxes (STB’s) from 5-10%. The move is expected to help boost the domestic manufacturing of set top boxes, which is an exciting incentive for the industry.
The Information and Broadcasting Ministry had last month urged the Finance Ministry to remove the anomaly between imported and indigenous STBs.

DAS Phase II: LCOs Switching Off Channels To Create Demand

With roughly a month remaining for the DAS Phase II deadline, hectic preparations are on in 38 cities across 15 states covered in this phase. LCOs and MSOs continue to battle with issues such as scarcity of set top boxes (STBs), getting adequate manpower to get the STBs installed in a race against time as well as tackle consumer apathy as they tend to delay things till the last moment.
Cable operators in Rajasthan have found a novel way to get their customers to get the STBs installed. They have started to switch off channels in order to increase the demand for installation of boxes. Jaipur and Jodhpur are the two major cities in Rajasthan that are covered in DAS Phase II.

Tamil channel Moon TV set for relaunch on March 1

Launched in 2008 by Moon Vision, Tamil infotainment channel Moon TV went off air in Chennai just six months after commencing its operations. Dr L Shawnawaz Khan, Managing Director, Moon TV cites problems faced with MSOs as the reason behind going off air in Chennai. 
The channel is now set to relaunch on March 1, 2013. “The second innings of Moon TV has been made possible due to state-run Arasu, which has brought about a significant change in the TV distribution space in Tamil Nadu. Twenty channels got relaunched in Chennai after Arasu came in,” Khan said. 

ZTE, Sony, Huawei, others may come out with smartphones running Mozilla Firefox OS

Soon after the launch of Mozilla Firefox OS recently, global handset manufacturers are showing keenness to come out with smartphones in near future running this latest OS. The list includes Alcatel (TCL), Huawei, LG and ZTE which would build the first Firefox OS devices. They all will be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset. 
Although short of commitment, Sony too is believed to be working on plan to come out with smartphone running Firefox OS. The popularity of Firefox OS does not end here. Twitter and Facebook too have plans to for Firefox OS based app. 

Cablevision sues Viacom over unwanted channels

Cable TV company Cablevision sued Viacom, arguing that the operator of pay-TV networks like Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central is “illegally forcing” it to carry and pay for 14 channels that aren’t watched very much. 
Bethpage, New York-based Cablevision Systems Corp. said it filed the antitrust lawsuit in federal court on Tuesday in New York on under seal, meaning it’s not publicly available. 

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Cisco to launch low-cost products on broadband

Networking giant Cisco is set to launch low-cost platform for pushing education and healthcare services on broadband. 
This is part of the US technology major’s strategy to use the Indian market as a sounding board for products aimed at emerging markets. 

TRAI seeks views on roaming charges

Telecom Regulator TRAI has floated a consultation paper to bring down the rates of mobile calls and SMSes that are currently charged from a customer on availing roaming facility. 
Among various options to reduce or remove additional cost burden on roaming customers, TRAI has proposed a new norm—Home Price Rule—wherein a mobile subscriber should be charged the same amount that he pays when he is not roaming. 

J&K Cable Operators Protest Against Govt Order, Attempt Self Immolation

On 26 February 2013, Police foiled a bid of self immolation by cable operators against the closure of cable TV network in most parts of city by the state government.
The cable operators held strong protest demonstrations at Press Enclave here and raised slogans against National Conference (NC) leader and MLC Devinder Singh Rana accusing him of stopping the cable TV. “We refused to feed the Take One and JK Channel through our network and Rana used official machinery to get our operations closed. They have brought us on roads and they are bent upon creating more unemployment in Kashmir,” they alleged.

Phase II Of Digitisation May Be Delayed By 3-6 Months: MPA Study.

Bolstered by the momentum of the DAS (digital addressable system) mandate, India’s cable industry ended 2012 with an installed base of 14.6 million digital STBs, according to research firm Media Partners Asia. The hard work begins now as cable MSOs look to collect fees from LCOs and implement billing and tiering.
The majority of digital cable subscriber additions has come from the top five MSOs who have managed to seed a little over 8 million digital STBs in Phase I markets. On a pan-India basis, these MSOs have installed over 12.5 million digital cable STBs. Hathway leads the pack with about 24 per cent market share. However, its immediate competitor DEN is catching up as it has managed to capture a larger share of new subscriber additions post the analog switch-off in Phase I metros. For instance, in Q3 FY March 2012, among its peers listed here, DEN added 0.9 million digital subscribers while Hathway and Siti Cable added 0.73 million and 0.7 million digital subscribers, respectively.

IBF appoints Shailesh Shah as Secretary General

Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) has announced on 27 February the appointment of Shailesh Shah as its Secretary General. 
With over 28 years of experience in a variety of industries, Shah will augment IBF’s efforts in building a robust and profitable broadcasting industry in India. 

Cable operators, MSOs asked to provide computerised bills to consumers

Local cable operators and multi-system operators have been asked to look into the issue of computerised bill being not provided to consumers in certain areas of Phase I cities, government said today. 
“It has been brought to the notice of this ministry that in some areas of Phase I cities, computerised bills are not being provided to consumers,” I&B minister Manish Tewari said in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha. 

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

TRAI Issues Directions To Registered MSOs And Their Linked LCOs Operating In Notified DAS Areas Regarding Implementation Of Subscriber Management System

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued directions to all registered Multi System Operators (MSOs) and their linked Local Cable Operators (LCOs) operating in the notified Digital Addressable System (DAS) areas, covered under Phase I of DAS implementation, regarding implementation of Subscriber Management Services on 25 February 2013.
DAS is being implemented across the country in a phased manner and the exercise is expected to culminate with the entire country covered under digitisation by December 31, 2014. The first phase covers the metro cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.

TN Cable TV Operators To Plan Online Payment System On Feb 28

The Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable Television Corporation, a government entity, recently issued a notification extending to the subscribers the facility of online payment of monthly subscription of Rs 70.
Local cable television operators are against it, saying they would be affected as they may not get their share of Rs 20 per connection from the Government in time.

Airtel to launch 4G services in Chandigarh by March-end

Bharti Airtel will launch 4G services in Chandigarh by the end of next month, expanding the footprint of its high- speed Internet service network. 
The only firm offering 4G services in India, covering Kolkata, Bangalore and Pune, the company has roped in Chinese equipment maker ZTE to build and operate the 4G network in Chandigarh. 

HBO Asia, Eros International launch ad-free channels on DTH platform

HBO Asia and Eros International Media have launched on 26 February their two advertising free channels HBO Defined and HBO Hits in India on the DTH platform. 
The two premium advertisement-free movie channels will be available for a free preview in the initial phase of the launch. 

ESPN sells British channels to BT Group

ESPN is withdrawing from British and Irish television, announced on 25 February that its channels are being sold to the BT Group. 
The US sports network increased operations in Britain in 2009 after capturing some domestic rights to show English Premier League matches. But ESPN lost those rights, which were vital to attracting subscribers, for next season as BT joined BSkyB in showing Premier League games for the first time. 

Monday, 25 February 2013

Digitisation: Cisco ships 1.3 mn STBs to India in Q4

Cisco, which acquired NDS, has won a significant standard definition (SD) set-top box business in India for the quarter ending January, benefitting fr0m India's move towards mandatory digitisation. 
Cisco shipped 1.3 million boxes in the fourth quarter compared with 850,000 in the trailing three-month period, with a large portion of the increase coming fr0m India. 

Exec:Cisco' Committed to set-top

Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) has used a corporate blog to reaffirm its commitment to set-top boxes and the whole customer premises equipment space and, to an extent, to expand on the comments of Chairman-CEO John Chambers, who told analysts last week that the company was "walking away" from very low margins set-top boxes. 
Without openly contradicting his boss, Joe Chow, vice president and general manager of Cisco's Connected Devices business unit, used a blog to "clear up any confusion surrounding those comments." 

Magyar Telekom CTO Integrate set-top functionality into TV

Even as vendors continue to focus their set-top box efforts on emerging markets, at least one IPTV service provider technology executive in such a market is indicating that there really is no need for a set-top if a TV can do the job. 
Matthias Linder, CTO of Network Technology at Hungary's Magyar Telekom, told IPTV News it is time to move the functions of a set-top into the TV, if for no other reason than that it will save the service provider the cost of the equipment. 

Next-gen Ultra HD platform approaches as HDTVs saturate market

The next generation of HDTV--4K, or UltraHD--is beginning to take root in Japan even as the current generation saturates the U.S. market, setting up a potential dilemma for service providers with a huge installed base of set-top boxes that would need to be replaced in order to handle 4K content. 
4K, in essence, doubles the number of pixels on a current HDTV screen, markedly improving picture quality and allowing viewers to sit closer to bigger screens without experiencing picture degradation. The experience is considered more immersive and is being touted by TV set makers who want to move on to the next generation of products with bigger TVs aimed at residential home entertainment centers. 

Russian IPTV provider using Moto multi-room gear

Russian IPTV provider VimpelCom has sought out Motorola--currently in the throes of being sold by Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) to Arris (Nasdaq: ARRS)--to help its Beeline TV service subscribers better manage their home networking needs. 
To facilitate this, VimpelCom has installed Motorola's VAP2400 HD wireless video bridge device to work with its HDTV IP set-top box and stream HD video over Wi-Fi. 

YOU On Demand expands from cable to IPTV in China

Realizing that the market is bigger than just cable television, pay-per-view and video-on-demand purveyor YOU On Demand has expanded its platform to include IPTV. 
The company, which claims to be the leading PPV and VOD platform service in China, signed a distribution agreement with Tianjin IPTV to cover households across 16 major districts and counties in the greater Tianjin metropolitan area. The service will officially launch "immediately following the completion of the Chinese New Year celebration which began on February 10," the company said. The IPTV deal will increase the number of potential customers who can see the company's variety of films from top studios including Disney Media Distribution, Paramount Picture, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros, Miramax Films and Magnolia Pictures, as well Chinese films offered monthly through Transaction video-on-demand (TVOD), Subscriber video-on-demand (SVOD) and Near video-on-demand (NVOD) packages, the company said. 

Real estate firm Sahana Group to launch two news channels

Real Estate Company Sahana Group is set to foray into television broadcast business with two news channels. 
The Marathi news channel, Jai Maharashtra, will launch on 1 May, which is also the Maharashtra Day. 

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Bright future for DRM as pay-TV goes multiscreen

Prospects continue to look bright for providers of content protection solutions to the pay-TV market globally, and digital rights management (DRM) specialists in particular, according to new research by US firm Multimedia Research Group (MRG).
MRG predicts that sales of pay-TV content protection will reach US$ 1.957bn in 2016, up 30% from 2012, with growth driven by the emerging need for DRM technology that can protect multiscreen services. 

Govt expects Rs 43,000 cr from spectrum sale at base price

The government will get Rs 43,011 crore if all the spectrum is sold at at the base price in the auction, Minister of State for Communications and IT MilindDeora said on 22 February. 
The government has announced starting auction in March for 2G spectrum that remained unsold in November auction. Also, spectrum held by existing operators AirtelBSE 4.64 %, Vodafone and Loop Mobile through licences that are due for renewal in 2014 will also be auctioned. 

Three-network convergence covers 300m people

China's online convergence of cable television, telecommunications and the Internet is progressing in 54 cities, affecting more than 300 million people, according to the president of the China Radio and Television Association. 
Li Dan made the remarks in the China Three Network Convergence Summit, held in Beijing on Aug 22-23. 

China’s three-network project “key” to digital home growth

The next few years will be a critical period for the development of digital TV and digital home services in China, according to the country’s largest research body, which predicts that there is likely to be considerable R&D efforts and partnerships formed between different industry participants. 
The country’s three-network project, involving the convergence of its cable, telecoms and Internet industries, will prove critical to the growth of digital TV and digital home services in the country, according to CCID Consulting. China’s digital TV industry is estimated to have reached CNY 279.40bn (US$ 44.86bn) in 2011, up 19.9% year-on-year, with growth generated largely by the country’s cable TV and IPTV operators. 

Western Europe sees first-ever decline in pay-TV subs

New research conducted by Informa Telecoms & Media (publisher of IP&TV News) has found that Western Europe witnessed its first decline in pay-TV subscriber numbers last year since the launch of commercial services in the 1980s, with Italy and Spain suffering the biggest losses. 
In total there were 92.6mn pay-TV subscribers in Western Europe by the end of last year, according to Informa, with a total of 384,000 lost during the course of 2012. 

Western Europe sees first-ever decline in pay-TV subs

New research conducted by Informa Telecoms & Media (publisher of IP&TV News) has found that Western Europe witnessed its first decline in pay-TV subscriber numbers last year since the launch of commercial services in the 1980s, with Italy and Spain suffering the biggest losses. 
In total there were 92.6mn pay-TV subscribers in Western Europe by the end of last year, according to Informa, with a total of 384,000 lost during the course of 2012. 

Western Europe sees first-ever decline in pay-TV subs

New research conducted by Informa Telecoms & Media (publisher of IP&TV News) has found that Western Europe witnessed its first decline in pay-TV subscriber numbers last year since the launch of commercial services in the 1980s, with Italy and Spain suffering the biggest losses. 
In total there were 92.6mn pay-TV subscribers in Western Europe by the end of last year, according to Informa, with a total of 384,000 lost during the course of 2012. 

Russia emerges as Europe’s FTTH leader

The adoption of fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) connections in Europe continues to grow apace, with Russia emerging as the region’s clear leader after a dramatic 42% increase in FTTH connections in the second half of 2012, according to new figures from the FTTH Council Europe. 
Russia added 2.2mn new FTTH subscribers in the six months to December 2012 – more than all of the 27 member states of the European Union combined – to reach a total of 7.5mn fibre-connected homes. 

EE warns rival 4G operators to address “mobile video tsunami”

After the UK’s latest auction of spectrum for the delivery of 4G services fell disappointingly short of target levels earlier today, successful bidder Everything Everywhere has warned that 2013 will be a critical year for operators to address the “mobile video tsunami” before it is too late. 
Speaking to IP&TV News this morning, Matt Stagg, Senior Manager of Network Strategy at Everything Everywhere (which was the second-highest bidder today, paying GB£ 588.9mn for airways), was upbeat on the company’s prospects for building a mobile video ecosystem in the country. 

BBC Two to launch HD feed on 26 March

UK pubcaster The BBC has announced that it will launch BBC Two HD on 26 March. BBC Two HD will be available on Sky HD (169), Freeview HD/YouView (102), Virgin Media (187), Freesat HD (109) and BT Vision (852). 
BBC One HD was launched on 3 November 2010. 

Fox restructures programming team

US broadcaster Fox chairman of entertainment Kevin Reilly and COO Joe Earley have announced a restructuring and expansion of the network's programming team designed to foster the company's expanding programming efforts. 
Beginning immediately, the following leadership changes are in effect: 

Court stops telecast of Sony's Crime Patrol's Om Prakash Chautala episode

The Delhi High Court on 22 February restrained Sony TV channel from broadcasting an episode of Crime Patrol programme based on a teachers' recruitment scam involving former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala and 54 others. 
Justice ML. Mehta, in an interim direction, asked the entertainment channel not to telecast the episode, scheduled to be aired Saturday. 

Media, cinema are insensitive towards people's woes: Javed Akhtar

"It is sad to note that this insensitivity (towards common man) on the part of the media and cinema also extends to politics and other spheres," Akhtar said while delivering a lecture in Bhopal. 
The Mumbai film industry has undergone a sea change from the time he entered it in the late 60s, Akhtar said, adding that when he first came to the metropolis, producers used to tell him that films should be written for those living in the small towns of the country. 

Friday, 22 February 2013

Digitisation: Hathway Cable's Capex Need Is Rs 4 Bn In Q4

Hathway Cable & Datacom's capital expenditure in the last quarter of this fiscal on account of Phase 2 digitisation will be in the region of Rs 4 billion, a top executive of the company said.
The multi-system operator (MSO) is anticipating a deployment of 2.6 million set-top boxes (STBs) in the quarter beginning January.

Broadband kiosks in remote areas to go up

The Centre’s ambitious plan to set up a broadband kiosk in areas where poorer sections of society can access is expected to get a fillip. 
The Union Minister Killi Kruparani who reviewed the progress said the project being implemented by BSNL will be given a push this year. 

First worldwide UHDTV from Spain

Spanish broadcasting agency Abertis Telecom is to make the first worldwide UHDTV transmission at the end of this month within the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. 

Nimbus Sports promotes Sunil Manocha as COO

Nimbus Sports has promoted Sunil Manocha as chief operating officer. He replaces Yannick Colaco, who joined NBA as India managing director. 

Turner appoints Rani Raad head of commercial at CNN International

Turner has appointed Rani Raad Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer of CNN International. The announcement was made by Gerhard Zeiler, President of Turner Broadcasting System International, parent company of CNN International. 
Raad will be responsible for the commercial strategy and vision of CNN International and will oversee its advertising sales, content sales, business development, international research and marketing activities. Additionally, Raad will keep his current responsibilities, managing Turner Broadcasting’s operations in Turkey, the Middle East and Africa. 

CCI approves Walt Disney, Network18 firms’ deal

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) said on 21 February it has approved a proposed deal between Walt Disney and Network18 group firms, involving combination of their TV channel aggregation business for various distribution platforms. 
Giving the proposed deal the green signal, the regulator said the transaction is “not likely to have an appreciable adverse effect on competition in India”. 

Raj TV launches new channels in two states

Chennai-based Raj Television has launched new channels in the states of Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. 
As per reports, the company will officially launch music, news and GEC channels by March. The new channels, at a capex of Rs 80 crore, are likely to be funded via debt and internal accruals. 

Nielsen changing the way it measures television consumption

Responding to pressure from the television industry, the ratings company is making a bigger push to measure viewing in a way that reflects the different means by which television content is distributed and consumed in the digital age. Nielsen is rethinking how it measures television viewing. 
The first step for Nielsen is to redefine what it considers a "television home." Starting this fall, homes that receive content on their television through video-game consoles or through broadband connections will be included in its sample. In the past, Nielsen only counted viewing that was done either through an over-the-air antenna or via a pay-TV provider such as a satellite broadcaster or cable company. 

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Apple TV arrives in Indian market to compete with other HD media players

Apple has launched the Apple TV media streaming box in India and the company is looking to develop partnerships to stream content directly to TVs through the device. The device has been launched in India almost a year after it was launched in the US. 
According to reports, the device connects with any existing television via HDMI to stream purchased multimedia content or content stored on iCloud. Users can also view content stored on their iOS device using Airplay, a media streaming feature.

Vodafone, Airtel drag DoT to court on auctioning 900 MHz spectrum

Vodafone India and Airtel have filed a petition in the Delhi High Court challenging the Department of Telecom’s decision to put its 900 MHz spectrum to auction. 
The company said the DoT move comes even when Vodafone’s applications for licence extension are pending. 

Tata Sky renews contract with Technicolor for STBs

Tata Sky, the direct-to-home (DTH) player with over 8 million subscribers, has renewed its contract with Technicolor for MediaPlay set-top-boxes (STBs) till mid 2015. 
The contracts are for the HD-enabled zapper (MediaPlay DSI715), which is optimised to deliver all essential features at low cost while enabling future-proof services such as video on demand, and the SD satellite zapper (MediaPlay DSI309), which has been tailored to Tata Sky’s needs and enables MPEG-4 decoding in a compact design.

KIT digital delivers VoD on Windows 8

4oD, the video on demand service of Channel 4, is now available on a variety of devices running Windows 8, with a new app developed by KIT digital. 
Channel 4 commissioned KIT digital for its experience and knowledge of the 4oD architecture to develop the new app, which was the first UK VoD app to be made available on Windows 8. 

2G scam: ED to file charges against Raja, Kanimozhi

The Enforcement Directorate is set to tighten its noose in the 2G spectrum allocations case as the agency will soon file its charge sheet against two of the main accused — former Telecom Minister A Raja and DMK leader Kanimozhi. 
Both Raja and Kanimozhi have been questioned by the ED quite a number of times and the agency is probing alleged money laundering and forex violations on the part of individuals, in the government and private, in the second generation spectrum awards case. 

Cable industry vetaran Ketan Thakker quits Digicable

Ketan Thakker, a veteran in the cable television industry, has quit Digicable Network as Vice President – Technical after spending more than five years in the company. 
At Digicable, Thakker was overall business head for OFC infrastructure at a pan India level. He was also the technical in-charge of digital Headend and SMS of entire Western region. 

TRAI starts process for nation-wide mobile number portability

Telecom regulator TRAI started pre-consultation process for nationwide mobile number portability services on 20 February that will allow users to retain their numbers even after they shift from one service area to another. 
At present, mobile number portability (MNP) services are available within a service area only. With nation-wide MNP services, mobile users can retain their numbers even if they shift from one state to another. 

MSM expects 20 per cent increase in revenues from IPL 2013

MSM, which owns the telecast rights for the property, has released a marketing campaign, 'Sirf Dekhneka Nahi', for the upcoming season of the tournament. Also, the marketing spends have increased by 20-25 per cent in the current season. The campaign, which will be led by television, will be spread across all platforms including print, outdoor and BTL (extensively used), followed by radio and digital. 
The campaign comprises seven TV commercials, of which six will be unveiled first, while the remaining one (which is a minute long film) will be released on March 15. The outdoor will be released on March 22. 

BIG CBS launches Hindi feed of English JV channel

BIG CBS, the joint venture between Reliance Broadcast Network (RBNL) and CBS Studios International, has announced the launch of Hindi feed of its English Entertainment Channel–BIG CBS Prime. 
It will be the first time an English channel will have Hindi feed. The company believes that this move will add more muscle to its bouquet in India. “With phase II of digitisation across 38 cities, the opportunity to take the channel across the Hindi speaking market is ideal from a business perspective,” it said in a statement. 

TRAI notice on ad cap has broadcasters up in arms

The issue of 10+2 ad cap has come to the forefront again with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) issuing a notice to broadcasters, asking them to provide reasons for not implementing the ad cap limit during their shows. The broadcasters have been given time till March 10, 2013 to send in their replies. 
This has raised the heckles of the broadcasters who have been opposing the 10+2 ad cap ever since it was first ruled by TRAI in May 2012. 

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Adtran opens technology centre in Hyderabad

Networking solutions provider Adtran Networks India Private Ltd has opened a high-technology engineering facility in Hyderabad. 
The fully-owned subsidiary of Nasdaq-listed Adtran Inc has been in Hyderabad for over six years and opened this new centre to focus on telecom software and hardware design and would initially employee over 30 engineers. 

Uninor shuts network in Kolkata, West Bengal, Mumbai circles

Uninor has closed down its mobile networks in Kolkata and West Bengal as well as in Mumbai from Saturday, midnight, 16 February 2013. This follows the recent Supreme Court order that directed all operators, which did not win spectrum in the previous auctions, to close down services immediately. In Kolkata and West Bengal, Uninor had informed its customers in December last year of an imminent service closure and had requested them to port out to another operator of choice. The spokesperson of the company told Business Line that a majority of its customers in the city as well as in the West Bengal circle have ported out already. But, in Mumbai, some 18 lakh Uninor subscribers did not get a chance to port out before the closure. “The sudden apex court order did not give us the opportunity to inform Mumbai customers in advance,” said the spokesperson. In a statement, Uninor said: “The company deeply regrets this outcome and will make every effort, within the limitations of this Court order, to minimise the negative impact on all affected by this development”.

DoT, Trai to look in to options to refund consumers' money

The Telecom Ministry and the sector regulator TRAI will look in to the possibility of refunding money as part of measures to protect interest of consumers on mobile networks that may shut shop soon. 
Telecom firms, who neither have spectrum nor the Supreme Court reprieve to continue operations, are to shut operations with immediate effect. 

DAS Phase II Hits A Chinese Speed Bump

The Phase 2 process of cable digitisation is proving to be no less a challenge than the first phase. With the March 31, 2013 just 40 days away, a new problem has cropped up in the form of a 25-day strike in a major set top box (STB) manufacturing company in China. This has hampered the supply of STBs, leading to apprehensions of the March 31 deadline not being met.
So far, there has been no reaction from the Government regarding this latest development. In a statement given some time back, Secretary for Information and Broadcasting, Uday Kumar Varma, had said that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has been reviewing the digitisation progress on a continuous basis and nodal officers have been appointed in every state to oversee the conversion process.

Internet service rates may go up under licence framework

Industry body ISPAI today said that rates of internet and broadband services may go up under new licenses framework due to high entry fee proposed by Department of Telecommunications (DoT). 
DoT has proposed to charge one-time entry of Rs 15 crore for a national level Unified Licence compared to Rs 30 lakh which companies pay for internet services at present. 

4G spectrum holders can provide call facility

Inter-ministerial body Telecom Commission on 19 February approved a recommendation that allows companies having ISP licences and holding 4G spectrum to offer phone calls services by paying a fee of Rs 1,658 crore each, a decision that left industry bodies divided. 
The Telecom Commission decision, if finally approved by Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, will allow companies such as Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJI), Augere, Tikona Digital, if they want, to offer mobile phone service using BWA spectrum that they won in 2010 auction.

Cable television operator detained under Goondas Act

A cable television operator, who had attacked a special tahsildar last month, was detained under the Goondas Act. 
Velmurugan (35) had attacked the special tahsildar for government cable television network, at K. R. R. Nagar on January 17. It was said that the tahsildar had refused to grant him license to operate a cable television network in his village. Tahsildar Murugesan was seriously injured in the incident and was rushed to a private hospital in Madurai for treatment. The allegation was that the Tahsildar demanded money for issuing licence to the cable TV operator and a wordy altercation had resulted in the offence. Later, he had surrendered before the police. 

BBC journalists strike

BBC journalists on 18 February began a 24-hour strike in protest at compulsory redundancies, causing possible disruption to the broadcaster’s television and radio output. Members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) walked out at midnight local time over job cuts which are expected to affect BBC Scotland, Five Live, the Asian Network and the World Service. 
NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet explained: “NUJ members across the BBC are taking action to defend jobs and quality journalism at the corporation. “They are angry and frustrated at the poor decisions being taken at the top of the BBC—decisions that are leading to journalists being forced out of their jobs and quality journalism and programming compromised.” 

Media and entertainment sector to pick up in H2 on economic recovery

India Ratings has a negative outlook for the media and entertainment (M&E) sector for the first half of 2013 as moderate economic growth and cost reduction initiatives by corporates are leading to sluggish growth in advertising spending (adspend), the rating agency said. 
However, the outlook is stable for the second half of the year as the Indian economy is likely to start picking up, thus, driving higher adspend by corporates, India Ratings said. 

Govt. moves to block 55 Facebook pages on Afzal Guru

The government has asked internet service providers to block 55 Facebook pages related to Afzal Guru. The notice by the Department of Telecom was issued a day before internet services were restored in Kashmir Valley after remaining suspended for a week following Afzal's hanging. It was on the same day, February 14, that the notice ordering ISPs to block 73 web pages with content relating to a private management college, Indian Institute of Planning and Management, was issued. 
Afzal Guru, convicted for his role in the December 2001 Parliament attack, was hanged earlier this month. His hanging set off a spate of protests in Kashmir despite a week-long curfew in the Valley. 

Government may ban political surrogates from owning television channels

In a move which could impact television channels run by close affiliates of political parties, the Union Government is considering the possibility of clamping down on surrogates in the media sector. 
In a consultation paper on issues related to media ownership released on Friday, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has raised the problem of surrogate entities being used to bypass its existing ban on political, religious and governmental bodies entering the broadcast media space. 

Sri Lanka Cricket floats tender for commercial rights

The Sri Lankan cricket board (SLC) has called bids for commercial rights for international matches played in the island nation. 
The tender includes rights for international television broadcasting, radio broadcasting, internet, wireless mobile besides on-ground and title rights. 

CASBAA urges Indian govt to allow DTH & satellite ops to cement long term deals

At present, contracts for satellite capacity for DTH broadcasters are limited to a 3-year term by Indian government regulation. Speaking at...