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Govt's TV digitalization campaign on social media

With PMO taking to twitter, ministries cannot lag behind in making the best use of the vast possibilities offered by technology.

business Updated: Jan 30, 2012 15:18 IST
Sanjib Kr Baruah

With PMO taking to twitter, ministries cannot lag behind in making the best use of the vast possibilities offered by technology.

With the cable TV era expected to be a thing of the past in a few years from now on, the information and broadcasting ministry will soon bring up its facebook account, dedicated website and other social media to spread the word about digitalization.

"By February, there will be an all-out campaign -- on facebook, on websites, other social media, and toll free numbers -- all to spread information about the benefits of digitalization," said a senior government official.

"There will also be nationwide advertisements on digitalization on print, TV and radio as part of an extensive campaign by the information and broadcasting ministry," the official added.

India plans to achieve full digitalization in the country by December 31, 2014.

"A strategy paper is also being finalized on the dynamics. How many Set Top Boxes (STB) will be required in various cities, and in the various phases, how many of them can be locally manufactured and how many are to be imported? What kind of fiscal incentives can be offered to stakeholders in the industry--all these will be clear very soon," the official said.

Digitalization or the switchover from analog to digital systems is being looked upon as a game-changer in the TV broadcast industry.

While broadcasters will move from an advertisement revenue model to a subscription based one, there will be substantial lowering of operations cost of running channels. At present, carriage and placement fees corner nearly 20% of the total cost of running a TV channel. It will also end the regime of hefty carriage fees they pay to cable TV operators in the Rs 20,000 crore industry.

Presently, cable operators who use the analog platform charge a flat rate for all customers for a single package of less than 90 channels, a far cry from digital cables that can carry up to 1,000 channels.

Consumers will also benefit with more channels of their choice besides sharper pictures and better sound quality.

There are an estimated 13.5 crore TV households in the country, of which 11 crore are analog subscribers.