The Indian TV industry suffered a huge loss of $1.4 billion due to piracy in the current year till now, a report by the Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA) has said.
In what could be a major cause of concern for Indian TV channels and operators, losses due to piracy has grown in India from $1.3 billion last year. The survey put the total signal theft in the Asia-Pacific region at $2.1 billion. Clearly, India accounts for the bulk of cases.
Outlining steps to fight piracy, the report said: “Digitisation of the remaining analog markets is a high priority. Completion of addressable digitisation in major Indian cable markets would be a huge boost.”
"Governments and industry need to work together to change consumer behaviour," it added.
Lack of transparency in the market and a lenient view towards illegal connections has contributed in a big way to growing piracy. A plan to digitise TV services across the country by 2014 is underway.
Digitisation by bringing in clearer subscription figures for broadcasters, will boost subscription revenues besides ending a regime of hefty carriage fee that broadcasters pay to cable TV operators in the Rs 20,000 crore industry. This will substantially bring down the cost of operations of running channels. At present, carriage and placement fees corner nearly 20% of the total cost of running a channel.
Consumers will be able to select channels of their choice which will have sharper pictures, better sound quality and a bigger number of channels. The broadcasters will be able to route their content directly through satellites to the consumers through set top boxes.
There are an estimated 13.5 crore TV households in the country, of which 11 crore are analog subscribers.