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Cricket ups sales of set-top boxes

BS Corporate Bureau in New Delhi | December 29, 2003 11:30 IST

Cable TV subscribers in South Delhi have bought about 30,000 set-top boxes since the conditional access system was introduced on December 15.

This is against an estimated 15,000-20,000 boxes installed about a week ago.

Cable industry sources said the last few days saw higher sales as consumers rushed to buy STBs in anticipation of cable companies blocking signals to homes on the eve of the third Test match between India and Australia.

Government sources said broadcasting companies and cable operators had approached the government with a proposal to set up a regulatory body to oversee the sector after the implementation of CAS.

Sources also said a section of broadcasters had also called upon the government to ensure that cable network companies where neutral while distributing channels.

According to the sources, broadcasters have pointed out that some cable operators are favouring certain broadcasters by either blocking their rivals' channels or not ensuring their smooth distribution.

The government is also studying the direction of the Delhi High Court that a policy should be framed to regulate advertisements on channels. The court had said the Centre should consider setting a time limit for advertisement slots in a 30-minute programme.

"We are studying these directions and will form an opinion soon," a senior government official said.

The court, emphasising that there was a need for a regulatory body to oversee the implementation of the CAS scheme, had also asked the government to inform it about the steps taken in this direction by April 5.

The court had also observed that till the next date of hearing, it would monitor the pros and cons of the new system and then take a view.

Cable operators have also called upon the government to press broadcasting companies to come out with lower channel prices and to work out schemes which are consumer friendly.

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