"Most operators (both cable and direct-to-home or DTH) disagree with the digital penetration numbers released by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I&B)," says a recent report by Media Partners Asia (MPA), a Hong Kong-based media research firm that tracks television and pay TV markets in Asia.
The government has made it compulsory for the four metros to switch to digital television feeds
. The deadline for that digitisation will expire on October 31, 2012.
I&B ministry figures suggest that Mumbai has achieved 99 per cent digitisation
(cable and DTH
). However, according to MPA, Mumbai has racked up only about 70 per cent digital penetration in single TV homes.
The ministry's figures show that Delhi has achieved 81 per cent cable and DTH penetration, while Kolkata has 81 per cent and Chennai, 85 per cent.
In contrast, the MPA figures show that Delhi has just 50 per cent penetration, while Kolkata is at 45 per cent, and Chennai, 30 per cent.
The pace of deployment in Delhi has gained momentum in recent months, the report states, thanks to local government support, as in Mumbai. "Such support is not evident in Chennai and Kolkata, where local authorities are demanding a further extension. Chennai, in particular, is struggling, due to limited preparedness of the government-owned Arasu Cable and the lack of private players with strong financial muscle," it adds.
MPA is not the first body to question the I&B ministry's figures. Last week, MXM India, a media consultancy, reported that only 59 per cent digitisation had been achieved in the four metros, and not 87 per cent as claimed by the ministry.