The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has stated that 85% of Cable TV digitization has been achieved in four metro cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, up from 77% last month. This announcement was made after a review of the digitization progress by the ministry in the four metros, where digitization of cable TV has been made mandatory by October 31, 2012.
Methodology: The ministry stated that the review was done based on the 2011 Census data, released by Office of Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India and the data received from DTH operators regarding the number of DTH subscribers present in these four metros as well as data data received from Multi System Operators (MSO). Citing Census 2011 data, I&B ministry states that there are 83 lakh TV households in these metros.
Note that the ministry hasn’t taken DTH subscribers into account during this calculation. It noted that if DTH subscribers, which currently accounts to 27.52 lakh subscribers in these four metros, are taken into account, the percentage of digitization goes up to 90%. This is a 6% increase from 84% digitization achieved last month.
The ministry noted that in the last few days, the average number of STBs installed has jumped to almost 50,000 boxes per day, and as per the data provided by DTH operators, daily installation of DTH connections in the 4 metro cities has gone up to 8,000 Boxes per day from an average of about 2,000 Boxes a few weeks back, with just two days remaining for the Oct 31 deadline.
Metro-wise Breakdown: Among the four metros, Mumbai has achieved the highest level of digitization with a 100% digitization level, followed by Delhi with 83% digitization level, Kolkata with 80% digitization level and Chennai with 61% digitization level. If DTH subscribers are considered, Mumbai’s digitization level remains at 100%, while Chennai’s digitization level shoots up to 85%. The digitization level of Kolkata and Delhi increases to 82% and 88%, respectively.
MxM-TV Street Maps Survey says Digitization Rate Much Lower: Interestingly, TV guide company, What’s-On-India‘s TV Street Maps (TSM), and MxM India conducted an independent survey on the state of TV digitization in the four metros, according to which, only 59% digitization has been achieved, contrary to the government’s claim that 85% cable digitization has been achieved. The survey is based on TV Street Map’s data which claims to track tv channel distribution across 1500 cable head-ends in 675+ towns, and says that it’s been tracking data in the 4 metros at a more granular level. However, it does not mention the number of homes that have been included. The survey claims that Mumbai has achieved 62% digitization, followed by Kolkata with 35% digitization, Delhi with 34% and Chennai with 19%. If DTH subscribers are considered, Mumbai’s digitization level reaches 86%, while Chennai’s digitization level shoots up to 49%. The digitization level of Kolkata and Delhi increases to 53% and 45%, respectively. This data was collated on 23rd October.
Govt defends its methodology: In the government’s recent statement, it has said that the I&B Ministry has analysed the MxM India- TV Street Maps report and found that these organizations relied on certain industry reports only, for collation of data, and that the surveys and analysis have not provided details of the sample size, sampling methodology, details of field visits and areas covered in the four metros, number of respondents, details of questionnaire, period of survey etc. In its defense, the Ministry also stated that the data quoted from the Census about the total number of household and the TV penetration in the report, does not match with the Census Data, and the data quoted for DTH subscribers has been taken from Cable Operators Federation of India which does not represent the DTH operators. It would be interesting to see whether the government will stick to the October 31 deadline or extend it again. It had previously extended the cable tv digitization deadline in the four metros – Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, by four months from June 30, 2012 to October 30, 2012.
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