Discussions over Tea (Of course, cutting maar ke)

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

SOCIAL DISTRESS : The headlines that said it all

A lot has been said on blogs about the Bombay blasts. I have just one observation for you.
Sify reported the following headline - Blasts shock Mumbai into silence.
ET reported the following headline - Zaveri Bazar sheds a tear, gets busy again.
So much for the hue and cry over such a tragedy. Have we become desensitized to justice?

CONSUMER : Consumer CAS-ualty

In yet another game of politics affecting the common man, the Government has taken a decision to defer the implementation of CAS (Conditional Access System) only in south Delhi till after the legislative assembly polls. The rollout is planned to go forward as expected on the September 1st deadline for the remain metros (zonal in Bombay and Calcutta, and city-wide is Chennai). A debatable point, when you wonder why the rest of the metros should act as guinea pigs to the political centre of the country.
The idea behind the implementation, though well-intended, is not well thought out for such a hurried rollout. Here are the issues that the consumer faces -
  • Most broadcasters have not taken a decision whether they are going to be FTA (Free-to-Air) or Pay channels. This decision is a crucial one for any broadcaster. The government has complicated this issue because of the ad-revenue debate. Per the Govt, if a channel is offered as a pay channel, they should reduce the number of advertisements to ensure uninterrupted broadcasts. On the other hand, FTA channels can get their revenues from advertisement agencies. The consumer might therefore see a surge in the number of ads in their FTA channels.
  • Consumers are completely unaware of the pricing of channels and the "bouquets" offered by cable operators making the transition a difficult one.
  • Mostly, regional channels are FTA, which means that the regional consumer wouldn't be affected to such an extent as the urban consumer who watches movies, sports and family entertainment channels. Thus, the greatest affected is the urban/cosmopolitan consumer who shall have to take the burden of supporting the FTA channel transmission.
  • Interoperability, a critical requirement which ensures that the consumer can shift cable operators with their set top boxes, has not been ensured by most operators thereby shifting the cost to the consumers.

But above all, the decision to delay the rollout of CAS in S. Delhi shows how Delhi-centric Indian politics and how a city can hold a larger social decision to ransom. The entire decision stinks of hypocrisy at the heart of Indian politics.

End of Post

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