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Govt to focus on 10 states in Phases III and IV, industry needs to seed 110 mn STBs: Supriya Sahu

NEW DELHI: For Phases III and IV, the government would focus mainly on the 10 states that account for 77 per cent of the cable TV households. These include Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala, said Information and Broadcasting joint secretary (Broadcasting) Supriya Sahu.

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has estimated that for its digitisation drive, overall 140 million (14 crore) set-top boxes (STBs) would be needed, out of which close to 30 million (3 crore) have already been seeded in Phases I and II of DAS.

Supriya-Sahu02Speaking at the industry event CASBAA India Forum 2014, Sahu shared the information. She also stated that with Phase I (four metros) itself, the carriage fee paid by the broadcasters had come down by 20–25 per cent.

“According to data submitted by the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) and Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), carriage fee payment has been reduced by 25 per cent,” she said.

She added that broadcasters have also seen a rise in their subscription revenues and the billing process has improved as well.

Sahu also urged the industry to share more data with the government to help it formulate more industry-friendly policies.

She added that even government revenue from Phase I cities has increased manifold. From Rs 55 lakh ( Rs 5.5 million) in August 2012, it jumped to Rs 3 crore ( Rs 30 million) in August 2013. “Tax collection from those areas has increased three times. This could not have happened if the subscription base was not made transparent. The government has much to gain from digitisation,” she said.

She also said that the average revenue per user (ARPU) has increased. “In Mumbai alone, there is 400 per cent jump in subscription and 300 per cent in collection,” Sahu added.