Though the deadline for switching from analog to digital connectivity for the first phase was 31 October 2012, the digitisation process is in various stages of completion in each of the markets. This is according to findings released from a survey conducted by TAM Media Research to understand the implementation of the first phase of digitisation in the four metros - Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai.
The findings noted that while 97 per cent of the Delhi market has converted, 93 per cent of C&S homes in Mumbai have shifted from analog to digital. On the other hand, only 70 per cent of C&S homes have made the shift in Kolkata. In the Kolkata market, a lot of growth was witnessed post Diwali, according to the TAM survey. Digitisation in Chennai however has seen far lower success, with 26 per cent of homes moving to digital even after the cut off date, the survey has found.
The survey also finds that following the communications and promotions for digitisation in the metros, there is a spillover effect on other markets such as Punjab, Gujarat, Kerala, where there has been noticeable increase of digital penetration. TAM is set to release an all India digital universe data in January 2013.
As a result of the digitisation process, TAM will not be reporting viewership data on analog homes in the areas where digitisation falls in first phase in the cities of Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata from now on, but will continue to provide the data from Chennai where digitisation has not yet been implemented at a significant level. Non-municipal corporation areas (referred by TAM as Urban Agglomeration) in Mumbai and Kolkata do not fall in this phase and will continue to get ratings data on analog systems.
L V Krishnan, chief executive officer, TAM Media Research, noted that though DTH has grown well in the metros, digital cable has been the biggest gainer, with almost double the growth of DTH in these markets.
"Kids, sports and general entertainment channels will provide television networks the entry points into television homes as India shifts to digital delivery across the country," pointed out Krishnan. Based on the analysis of data collected over the last few weeks, he said that there has been significant increase in time spent on niche genres. In such a scenario, network channels will have a distinct advantage as they can 'cross-pollinate' channels , according to the TAM CEO. “The independent channels will want to join a network. The trend will be for channels to bunch up,” he added.
Krishnan said the universe of C&S television homes shrinking on account of some TV homes not being digitised is estimated to be 5 per cent in Mumbai, 3 per cent in Delhi and 10 per cent in Kolkata. The total number of cable and satellite TV homes by city are: 4.5 million in Mumbai, 3.8 million in Delhi, 3.2 million in Kolkata and 1.9 million in Chennai.
One of the biggest decisions TAM has taken in a bid to cope up with digitisation is increasing its sample size by 400 SEC AB homes in the Mumbai and Delhi markets, starting Q1 2013. Other centres such as Bangalore, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennai will also add up another 250 homes to the panel.