The digital world is ever-changing. Mandatory digitization of cable TV by government has flagged off new world of possibilities. It has not only helped the government but also the broadcasters, DTH and MSOs, and the customers. The new rule has introduced transparency and upgraded, improved, and structured system at a much more rational rate.

The digital world is not static and will continue to experience very rapid development in the years to come. Its dynamic nature every day is giving rise to new possibilities as world has witnessed rapid developments and advances in hardware (personal computers, mobile phones, recording, playback, control equipment), software applications (search software, graphic manipulation software, etc.), and networks (Internet and mobile telephone) in the last few decades.

The ordinance passed by the government of India on the mandatory digitization of the cable TV services brought a revolution in the broadcasting fraternity which includes the government, direct-to-home (DTH), multi-system operators (MSOs), and the consumers. Though digitization of cable TV took a long time for its implementation, the change it brought to the cable service has directly impacted day-to-day life. Digitization of cable network has not only benefited the government but has also helped the broadcasters, direct-to-home (DTH), multi-system operators (MSOs), and customers - the entire ecosystem.

Unlike the earlier scenario, wherein subscribers were forced to choose whole packages of channels even if they did not watch them all, in the new regime, they are allowed to choose channels on a la carte basis. In other words, subscribers will have much better choice for selecting only the channels that they want and pay accordingly. This has brought a price regulation for both the DTH and MSOs. For consumers, this translates into an extensive choice of TV channels, improved quality of transmission, increased value-added services, and paying for what they view. It allows the consumers high-quality viewing with value-added services like movies-on-demand, broadband, games, pay-per-view, and HD without any disruption. The state-of-the-art digital technology has enhanced the picture and sound quality to such an extent that it has given viewers a whole new definition to the world of entertainment.

For the government, transparency of customer declaration has led to better tax compliance and increased tax revenues. The carriage fee payouts by large broadcasters is expected to remain stable while disbanding of channel aggregators has resulted in higher bargaining power of distributors (MSOs and DTH operators) with smaller broadcasters as well as new channels. New channel launches and wider audience measurement metrics will keep carriage revenues buoyant for MSOs in the near term. This will in turn lower the carriage cost for the DTH and MSOs. Also broadcasters will enjoy a reduced dependence on advertising revenues with subscription-based services.

With digitization of cable TV, the cable networks are transitioning from coaxial to optic fiber in the last mile as optic fiber can carry a much larger amount of data and video than coaxial cable can. In the scenario where the last mile carries IP/data traffic, which enables cable operators to provide both TV and internet access through a single connection to consumers, vast revenue opportunities open up. In addition to TV revenue, distribution platforms can earn from providing Internet access and services, such as media storage in the cloud, delivery of educational content, high-definition gaming, home automation and monitoring services, and more.

Further, the introduction of new SMS and billing system in compliance with TRAI will help to improve operational efficiencies. Business process automation, mobile number portability, unsolicited commercial communication and complaint redressal mechanism, and steps taken by TRAI in connection with unsolicited communications along with value-added services will help to handle at least a million concurrent subscribers on the system.