The mandatory digitisation of India's cable TV network, which begins in earnest this year, can help broadcasters expand advertising revenues by better targeting of viewers, delegates to the Cable and Satellite Broadcasters Association of Asia (CASBAA) India Forum have heard.
"Digitalisation can convert television from an undifferentiated mass media to a targeted mass medium thus getting advertisers to spend more on differentiated audience," said Vikram Sakhuja, chief executive officer, Group M South Asia, at the Delhi event on 20 March.
Most players are, he said, seeking to reduce their dependence on advertising-led revenue streams in favour of increasing their subscription revenues. Indeed, the government-led digitisation process could provide a new business model for broadcasters where niche channels concentrate on exclusive content driven by a cohesive subscriber base, which would entice advertisers to them.
The new technology would provide for a huge database of viewer information, providing an accurate picture of audience habits and with it monetisation opportunities; what Sakhuja called 'the holy grail' of targeted marketing.
Digitisation of the country's cable networks, with the subsequent triple play options broadband provides, will also increase the presence of internet protocol television (IPTV) in India, he said. This will, make it a 'lean forward' medium rather than a 'lean back' medium.
"The fact that most of the people have their phones in their hands and computers on their laps while watching television, digitalisation will completely change the way consumers engage with TV content and programming," said Sakhuja.
Cable TV networks in India's four metros - Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata - are to be digitised by the end of June 2012. Nationwide digitisation will follow by 31 December 2014.