labels: entertainment
Will DTH win the small screen battle? news
Our Corporate Bureau
08 January 2007

Only 30 per cent of television users in the metros have switched to CAS in the past week. It looks like it will be a while before the remaining 70 per cent make the switch. CNBC-TV18 checks out how CAS will change the rules for advertisers and media buyers.

Only around 30 per cent or 6 lakh of the 20 lakh CAS-notified homes have converted to CAS. The remaining 14-lakh homes are facing a blackout of over 94 pay channels like Star Plus, Zee, Sony and ESPN Star. Apart from this low conversion, another worry for MSOs is that pay channels have turned free to air (FTA) in CAS areas, making it easier for the consumer to access programmes without buying a set top box.

Rohinton Dadyburjor, GM, operations, Hathway, says, "Times Now and Zoom have turned FTA. On the other hand, we have a number of channels which are FTA elsewhere, but have turned pay in the CAS regime. So we're seeing a mix of both." He therefore predicts, "We are going to see a shakeout."

If all 20 lakh CAS homes do not get to see their ads thanks to a poor CAS conversion, advertisers are thinking of asking broadcasters for a concession. But MSOs claim that the uptake of CAS will go up to 50 per cent by this weekend. Even so, most consumers are only opting for up to 30 pay channels. With over Rs6,000 crore of TV advertising at stake, and fewer channels to choose from, media planners say, clients may just end up looking elsewhere.

Manish Porwal, MD, Starcom India, explains, "This CAS change will act as a catalyst to bring in changes faster. For example, a brand that sells heavily in South Mumbai might want to do some local area activation, out of home, wet-dry sampling whatever is required to take care of what TV cannot do. In that bargain, they end up delivering more because they are using innovative methods, which they were earlier not sure of. So it may be that some of their money gets swept away from television.

With its aggressive marketing, DTH is not only stealing consumers from CAS, but also eyeing the ad pie that broadcasters are getting. Sources say Dish TV and Tata Sky are seeing an increase of up to 4 lakh new users from CAS areas. This means that they could finally be in a position to enforce rate cards and charge advertisers for airing ads on their platform.

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Will DTH win the small screen battle?