Tracking Access Under Digitalisation

The compulsory shift from analogue to digital cable which is taking place across the country in four phases has meant the addition of a set top box (STBs) in the Television (TV) paraphernalia of every household. A parallel shift that has taken place is the rapid growth in another segment of TV distribution, the Direct to Home (DTH) households which also require STBs. While well to do households in urban India have been attracted by the range of broadcast programming, on-demand services and interactive features of DTH; but being a wireless service, DTH has also been particularly attractive to geographically dispersed households, especially in rural India, hitherto not catered to by cable operators. This buoyancy in DTH subscription along with the phased digitization of cable services makes the television distribution market worthy of systematic study. This Ford Foundation supported project, Tracking Access under Digitalization, seeks to identify and map key dynamics shaping access in this emerging ecology-both, concerning the service providers and the viewers.