VBS 2024: Stopping the leakages in the pay TV ecosystem

VBS 2024: Stopping the leakages in the pay TV ecosystem

India is in the grips of seisnic changes as far as video and broadband consumption is concerned.


Mumbai: India is in the grips of seisnic changes regarding video and broadband consumption. Pay TV cord-cutting is rampant even as free TV subscriptions are on the rise and OTT buy-ins are churning with the signs up for certain platforms stagnating even as others are seeing rapid increases and some are seeing cataclysmic drops. Aggregators of OTTs are popping up on the horizon promising cheap bundles along with value-added services for cable TV and DTH. There's a rush to set up free advertising-supported TV channels by TV set manufacturers and smart TV device makers. There's the Jio factor where it seeks to convert most pay TV customers to free streaming of video content by offering free access to consumers at no cost. The consumer continues to demand bandwidth higher than ever imagined even as prices drop. Margins are under pressure as every player goes one-up on each other to acquire and retain customers.

The video and broadband distribution landscape has not been as vibrant as it is now.. How long will this pot-boiling continue? What will the magic potion of video and broadband look and taste like? And what's the end game? Indiantelevision.com has held the 20th edition of Video and Broadband Summit better known as VBS at Sahara Star Hotel, Mumbai.

The session chair for this panel is Elara Capital senior VP Karan Taurani along with the panellists: NXT Digital COO Rouse Koshi, MetroCast Network India promoter Nagesh Chhabria, Sabot One Pvt. Ltd. chairman & managing director Atul Saraf, Epic On & Stream-Sense CEO Sourajya Mohanty and KCCL and KVBL CEO Padmakumar N.

In this session, Taurani discussed the TV industry, issues of piracy, decrease in pay TV subscribers, shift from traditional TV to connected TV.

He asked Koshi on the assessment of piracy and the kind of loss the industry is suffering to which he said, “ Piracy has come down. On the linear side of it, I don't see piracy as much of a problem right now. After digitisation, piracy has come down. Also on the technological front, we have good regulations in place. There is a concern though in a lot of illegal streaming apps rather than in the pay TV side. “

Taurani then turned around towards Chhabria where he asked him his perspective on any innovation or data tracking he might have done towards his subscribers to see if piracy is there to which he said piracy is there first through our net and secondly in cable TVs where privacy is there in rural areas. In those areas, whichever state you go, there are small MSOs who are running with 2000 and 1500 base. When a businessman sees that they question how do they survive with such a small base? It is through privacy.”

After an elaborating response, Taurani asked Padmukar on the lack of digitisation and household penetration level in South markets to which he said, “In protecting the content, we have done all the steps so there's no chance of privacy as we give correct reports to the broadcasters and there is no suppressing data. As far as Kerala Vision is concerned, we are doing a good business. I'm Kerala our total cable TV homes will be 70 lakhs and out of this around 35 lakhs is dominated by Kerala Vision. We have more than 50 per cent market share in Kerala TV and more than 50 per cent in broadband also.

Saraf said on the issue, “Piracy has been happening for the last three decades. As an OTT aggregator, we are not allowing anybody to download our app if they are not able to put their telephone number. We are doing B2B and doing B2C. There is one thing sure from our OTT department that piracy won't happen from our end.

Last but not the least, Mohanty replied, “First of all we will acknowledge the fact that piracy has been a menace not only in India but globally also. We have a three fold approach that we have adopted. First is to take initiatives around DRM. Secondly, we have taken our initiatives with the video URLs which are very minimal yet very effective. Third is we have taken initiatives in deploying agencies.

Taurani ended the session by saying bundling is the way ahead and consolidation which will be beneficial to the platforms and distributors.