Future-ready Alliance

03 Sep,2013

 

By Johnson Napier

 

It was a first for any distribution network in India when The One Alliance announced that it had bagged an ISO 9001:2008 certification a few days ago. What the new certification has done is enabled the network to bag the tag of being an ‘organized’ one especially at a time when there’s much that’s being written and said of the unorganized state of the industry.

 

In fact the milestone also coincided with the completion of 11 years of operations of The One Alliance in India.

 

For Mr Rajesh Kaul, President – The One Alliance, there is a lot that has been achieved in the past eleven years and also a lot more to be done what with the digitization exercise currently underway in India. He tells MxMIndia on what the distribution market seems like in India and what’s to be expected out of the DAS rollout for distribution networks in India. Excerpts…

 

As a distribution network, what is the significance of getting an ISO 9001:2008 certification in India?

We are an unorganized sector atleast that’s what people believe, so it’s important that we take this initiative of being organized than the rest. To that extent this is significant because we insure that we follow a particular pattern and process so that we don’t deviate.

 

How does this achievement separate you from other distribution networks in the country? Do you think it is essential that the other players should try and get a similar certification?

The certification is only a means to get a little more organized in life, to ensure that you have proper systems to follow, so it is good to have such kind of a certification.

 

The occasion also marks completion of 11 years of your existence in India. How has the broadcast distribution ecosystem evolved since the 11 years you’ve been operating here?

I can actually write a book on this. If I had to cut it really short, in the past 11 years a lot of new channels which have come in. Eleven years ago, we had just 150-200 channels and today there are 700 channels. A lot of consolidation has happened on the ground. Maybe at that point of time, you had 50,000 to 60,000 cable MSOs, today we have just five to seven thousand. A lot of consolidation has happened within the channels too. Aggregative businesses, aggregates have started coming in and now is the era of digitization. So, we have moved from a complete analog to complete digitized world in recent case. So a lot has changed.

 

How would you summarize The One Alliance’s growth story post the digitization exercise in India?

There is no big story as of now in the growth aspect. Post digitization, we have a goal in mind and now we have to go all out to achieve that goal, which we deserve in terms of distribution revenue. We are hopeful that we will have a story from that.

 

What are the advantages that a distribution network can savour from the digitization rollout exercise that’s in its second phase as yet?

We are hopeful that we’ll be able to get desired results, it has not happened but slowly it is showing the impact. We have supported the entire industry so far. In the best interest of the industry and for the smooth roll-out of DAS, we’ve toned down our expectations for the smooth future functioning. Initially, that is what was desired from TRAI as well as the MIB but we are hopeful that with digitization overall revenues will get multiplied and the carriage fee which has been a big part of the broadcaster becomes negligible. This is what we are anticipating.

 

Do you think digitization has managed to deal with the numerous challenges facing distribution networks in India? Or is there still a long way to go?

I think we have come a long way but still a long way to go. So I would say both. It was a mammoth task. Digitization of a country like India with so many households, so many towns and so many different socio-economic backgrounds is a huge deal. I think we really have come a long way, by converting so many households into digitized households. But we still have a long way to go in terms of getting the systems right, getting transparency, getting the revenue share allocation proper. But yes we are on the right track. So we are happy with the progress.

 

It’s been 11 years since you launched. How do you see The One Alliance stacking up against the other players in the space? What is the roadmap you seek to chart in the immediate future?

We are ready for the future, our channels are doing well. We have exceedingly premium channels in our bouquet, we are completely ready and the roadmap is also prepare, with digitization taking place we just have to correct the overall revenue share allocation on the ground. Broadcasters should get 35-40 % of the overall revenue; we are hopeful that should happen soon. The roadmap is ready we just have to implement it.

 

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