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  • TRAI sees complete shift to digital broadcast signals by 2013

    Published on July 31, 2010

    Broadcast regulator TRAI on Friday said the media industry would see a complete shift to digital broadcast signals by December 2013.

    “We are forward-looking and pro-active on regulation on digitalisation. By 2013, the entire media industry will witness a major shift from analog to digital broadcast,” TRAI chairman JS Sarma said while addressing a conference on digital media through video conference.

    Sarma said that there will be a complete switch over from analog to digital broadcast signals in a phased manner by December 2013.

    TRAI is expected to release the final consultation paper on digitalisation of broadcast signals by next week.

    “All the industry players have welcomed the regulation by TRAI on digitalisation and we are expecting to release the final consultation paper on the same by next week,” he said.

    “All will gain from the digitalisation. We expect fast -paced digitalisation for both DTH and digital cable if Indian broadcasting carriage services are able to attract global players,” he added.

    Meanwhile, Tata Sky Chief Executive Vikram Kaushik said, “Digitalisation today is inevitable and the scale and potential of the volume of this business in India is huge.”

    The major challenge of digitalising is the fragmented economy, due to which the industry is losing a huge amount of money, he added.

    The telecom watchdog, which also regulates the TV distribution business, had earlier this month issued fresh recommendations on increasing foreign direct investment (FDI) limit for the broadcasting sector with an aim to attract more capital and provide a level-playing field to media players.

    The FDI limit for distribution services has been raised to 74 percent for Direct-to-Home (DTH), IPTV and multiple system operators (MSOs).

    As regards to content services for news channels, TRAI has recommended maintaining status quo at 26 percent FDI limit and for radio broadcasting a marginal increase to 26 percent from 20 percent versus 49 percent suggested for each in 2008, keeping in line with print media.

    The new recommendations would determine the FDI limit, both for ownership and control, against the existing norm for control.

    Under the existing norm, it was possible to divest 73-74 percent effectively without breaching the 49 percent limit given that the control was still with Indian citizens or companies, Sarma said.

    It would also allow companies to give control as well as ownership directly, enabling entry of more global players in the Indian DTH and cable services segment, he said.