labels: entertainment
CAS response gets industry worriednews
05 April 2007

New Delhi: The poor market response to the conditional access system (CAS) — for which viewers must access free-to-air and pay channels through a set-top box had led to differences among broadcasters, cable operators and multi-system operators (MSOs).

Following this the Trai has called a meeting on April 5 to resolve these differences.

Broadcasters and cable operators want the government to allow a voluntary extension of CAS to other parts of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai (CAS was made mandatory in designated areas of these cities from January this year).

The MSOs — which own the cable infrastructure and have cable operators as franchisees — want CAS to be expanded by administrative fiat and made mandatory.

The meeting also takes place against the backdrop of mandatory enforcement of CAS in Bhubaneshwar, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Bhopal — which has made the cable industry even unhappier.

Broadcasters like Star, Zee and Sony have suffered a dip in the ratings of their popular shows in CAS areas, resulting in advertisers asking for discounts on advertising spots. This is forcing them to support voluntary CAS expansion, though they were champions of mandatory imposition earlier.

The MSOs say broadcasters don''t have compelling content for people to justify paying to watch these channels, which is why they have floated the idea of making CAS voluntary.

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CAS response gets industry worried