It appears that all is not well with the television industry, though the consumer has definitely been spoilt for choice with the launch of an increasing number of both news and general entertainment channels.
Reliable sources within the industry said that each of these new channels have had to shell out big sums as carriage fees to multi-satellite operators to ensure proper distribution. A news channel spends roughly around Rs 25-30 crore as carriage fee annually, while the figure could be higher for a general entertainment channel.
INX Media, sources said, has earmarked Rs 70-80 crore for the carriage fee of its various channels, which include a general entertainment channel, a news channel and a music channel, among others. The past year also saw the launch of new channels like INX's 9X, a general entertainment channel, 9XM, a music channel, News 24, the news channel from BAG films, UTV's youth entertainment channel 'Bindass' and Zee's second general entertainment channel, 'Zee Next'. NDTV's general entertainment channel, NDTV Imagine, will go on air soon.
, Ravi Mansukhani, managing director of InNetwork Entertainment, a multi-satellite operator, said, "Digitisation is the only solution since popular channels use their clout to block important frequencies. Existing networks have limited frequencies. The new channels don't get a level playing field because of this."
As of now, the CAS penetration in the three cities of Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi is close to 10 to 12 lakhs.