“TV digitalization will be a turning point for cable”- says IMT alumnus Sudhir Agarwal, CEO of WWIL


Digitalization will be a turning point for the cable television industry in India says Institute of Management Technology alumnus Sudhir Agarwal, CEO of Wire and Wireless (India) Ltd. (WWIL) - and he’s looking forward to it.

Noting WWIL is a direct beneficiary of the government decision on digitization, he said: “Currently, the industry is widely affected by under-reporting and lack of transparency in subscription growth. With digitization, we would have clarity on subscribers. Once we have a clear line of sight with the consumers, under-reporting will diminish. That in turn will boost our subscription income.”

It’ll be a win-win situation for the industry and customers, said Agarwal, with customers enjoying better picture and sound quality as well as being able to access a number of “value added services” not available now.

Pointing out cable TV can increase the number of channels available - up to 700 -800 channels - he said: “Customers will be empowered to choose what they want to watch. They can subscribe to only those channels they wish to watch and pay accordingly. They will enjoy true freedom of choice.”

He predicts in the first full year of digitalization WWIL will see a 40 to 50 per cent increase in income from subscribers with subscription revenue growing by eight to ten times over the next four to five years.

WWIL is one of the best prepared companies to handle the switchover as it has been preparing for it since digitalization was first recommended, he said, building up its infrastructure, backend system and processes.

Agarwal said another advantage cable has is its ability to provide broadband internet services, something his company is actively pursuing.

Right now, broadband penetration in India is very small, with the telecom sector has 70-75 per cent penetration in the country, he said, “so, there will be an explosion in the broadband space.”

“In the last few months, we have started our broadband business with a combination of wired and wireless technology,” said Agarwal. “We have been pretty successful so far. We started in the east. We have connected 30 plus towns in West Bengal already.”