25 golden years of great distribution magazine SCaT

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To my mind, Dinyar Contractor, genial, knowledgeable, ever formally-dressed gentleman, respected editor  and dear friend, has always been the ‘Scatman’. After the acronym of the wonderful magazine, Satellite & Cable TV Guide, which, with its March 2018 issue, completed 25 golden years (yes, golden, not silver, even though the cover does have a huge ‘25’ in shining silver).

SCaT has been at the forefront of the broadcast content distribution industry in India, giving the entire distribution fraternity not only a voice but also valuable knowledge, inputs and guidance, driving and empowering all stakeholders in the broadcast and entertainment industry’s  move towards convergence, conducting highly respected SCaT workshops and also bringing the professionals together at  the SCaT-India Show, India’s largest annual B2B trade exhibition exclusively for the Indian Satellite & Cable TV Industry. In 2018, which is its 27th year, it will be held across three days from 24th to 26th October at the World Trade Centre in Mumbai.

Of course, if you are connected in any way with the Media & Entertainment business in India, you would know that it is its genial, self-effacing publisher Sudeep Malhotra, who founded SCaT in 1993. He brought Dinyar into it in August 1994, and ever since they first started working together, shaping the business  and content respectively of the magazine, Malhotra and Contractor have never looked back.

Whether you’re a leader or middle or starter level professional in the business of Media & Entertainment, you would do well to closely ready SCaT every month. It’s exhaustive coverage of every bit of important news won’t let you miss a beat, and as you’re aware, it produces all its content in both, English and Hindi for Cable & Satellite and now, per the strap line added to its masthead, is also ‘including Broadband & IPTV’.

SUDEEP MALHOTRA WRITES

Here are the thoughts of Founder & Publisher Sudeep Malhotra on his dream child SCaT turning 25. It’s a great albeit brief account of SCaT from idea to publication and now its 25th year. Superb work indeed!

In August of 1992, when cable TV was a small illegal niche service, I started to finalise plans to publish a Trade magazine for the industry.

I was discouraged by some and outright rejected by others, but went ahead and registered the magazine with the Government in 1992. I received our license in 2 months and launched in March 1993….

The first edition was 16 pages “thick”, was launched at the 1st SCaT Tradeshow at the Nehru Center, Mumbai. The show had 12 exhibitors and was inaugurated by Mrs Pamela Yash Chopra and Mr Ravi Chopra, eminent Film personalities. The visitor turnout was impressive and visited by over 2000 cable operators, dealers and manufacturers. We also got over 600 annual paid subscribers! This was encouraging because it indicated that there was indeed a demand for both, the magazine and the Tradeshow. The following years we grew at a phenomenal 200 to 300% year on year!

we have come to realise that it pays to be a long-term player and to have patience in the face of other ‘me toos’ … by sticking to the path and not losing focus by self-aggrandisement, or commercial reasons

Thank you to my wife, Sonu Malhotra, who pitched in those starting months, helping me with the volumes of work – both with the magazine, at the tradeshow, as well as at the SCaT Workshops … In addition to taking care of our two new-born daughters.

The Magazine and Tradeshow were growing so fast, it was becoming difficult to keep pace.

Then in August ’94, 1 was joined by Dinyar Contractor, who I’d known for over 10 years, when working with our previous competing companies, connected with installing and maintaining CATV networks in Hotels across India. Together, we built the brand – both, the magazine as well as the Tradeshow and the SCaT Workshops. His dedicated sales focus on Advts and booths was a huge growth-boost.

Of course, none of this would have been possible without encouragement from the manufacturers, with advice and prodding from the dealers and traders, many of who have grown with us, and today are brands in their own right to contend with.

Over the years, we’ve made friends, some great… and others not so much… We’ve also learnt… and earned our share of praise as well as brickbats, hopefully more of the former than the latter!

But we have come to realise that it pays to be a long-term player and to have patience in the face of other ‘me toos’ … by sticking to the path and not losing focus by self-aggrandisement, or commercial reasons.

And so with that in mind, my sincere thanks to some names that I must absolutely mention:

Kumar Khilare – in 1992 a young budding designer and artist. Who sat with me in 1992, burning the midnight oil, helped design the masthead and page layouts, took all of the verbal pounding from me; Atul Agarwal of Rank Infratel (earlier Meenakshi Equipments) – for all the advice and assistance in ’93, on how the market works, for allowing me to use his office at Lamington Road, when I was hand delivering these to the various shops; for introducing me to some of the other dealers and for remaining steadfast over the years.

Sanjay and Devchand of Channel Master – they started their CATV product sales at almost the same time as I launched the magazine, were very encouraging and am proud to say, every issue of the magazine for 25 years, has had their advertisement.

Rajesh Malik of Ray Electronics (earlier Airtech Cables) – the first person to book a booth at our first Tradeshow. He came in with great enthusiasm, reposed confidence in the event when others were hesitant, booked a stall, and told everyone he had done so; and so many others whose names I can’t list due to space constraints

Finally, a BIG thank you to Sangeeta Manchanda, Ritu Sawant, Prashant Karangutkar, Geeta Lalwani, Paripurnanand (Appuji), Pushpa Kundhadia, Mansvi Korde, Rajesh Pednekar, Radhika Rohira, Avril Miranda, Mahesh Agre, Anant, Krishna Sapkal, Brenda, Paramsivam, Pramila Shetty, Vivek Seth, Manohar… all colleagues in office, who have worked as a team and helped bring the company to its 26th year of success! Thank you indeed!

We still have a great deal to do.

With the constant state of flux, the changes over the last 5 years have been rapid. those who have not been able to keep up, have lost out. We still have some distance to go as an industry, before we stabilise. The rules and laws that are being put into place will go a long way in deciding how soon this happens.

Until then, stay in touch. I’d love to hear from you, with your opinions, ideas and articles. So write in to me at scatmag@scatmag.com(Reproduced with permission, from Satellite & Cable TV magazine, Vol XXVI/Issue 1)

DINYAR CONTRACTOR WRITES

Here’s what Dinyar has to say on 25 years of SCaT, and what to look out for in the issue datelind March 2018, Volume 1, Year XXVI of SCaT:

25 wild and wonderful years behind us… not only for the magazine but also the cable TV industry in India. So much has changed and then, so much has remained the same.

We have come a long way from trying to squeeze a second channel in Band I, to more than 500 Digital and HD channels today on Indian Cable TV networks.

I still recall the applause I received at a SCaT Workshop, when I spoke of optic fibre delivering Cable TV signals with a transmission loss of 0.3 dB per Km, compared to more than 10 dB per 100 meters of Coaxial cable!

The first issue of this magazine discussed Entertainment Tax and its implications. Issues with entertainment tax persisted for 25 years, until GST subsumed it less than a year ago. Now Entertainment Tax threatens to re-emerge, as a local levy by municipalities!

Commencing with this – our 25th Anniversary issue – we have significantly revamped the presentation and content. Approximately half the content will now focus on broadband delivery and how cable networks can better monetise opportunities

Cable TV has been a highly entrepreneurial industry, that has not only endured, but grown and thrived out of a chaotic environment. So much has been done, yet much needs to evolve.

Our industry is on the edge of a paradigm shift that will converge it with broadband. For the past several years, cable networks have refocused their attention on broadband retailing, for enhanced revenues. Still Cable TV distribution remains our calling card for entry into our consumers’ homes.

Commencing with this – our 25th Anniversary issue – we have significantly revamped the presentation and content. Approximately half the content will now focus on broadband delivery and how cable networks can better monetise opportunities.

Businesses are shifting from owned assets to shared assets – Uber and Air B&B, the largest operators in their segments, do not own cars or the premises that are rented.

As reported this month, a novel, converged DTH + OTT platform – DIVEO – has commenced operations in Germany on a shoe-string budget. It does not have a single transponder! Consumers receive their FTA channels from existing satellite downlinks, and Pay Channels via broadband. Such converged solutions, using for example FTA channels from FreeDish, with pay channels delivered via broadband, could not only change the economics of DTH operations in India, but also question the need for a DTH license and its 8% AGR annual license fee!

The convergence of broadband with TV delivery will radically change the way we do business. (Reproduced with permission, from Satellite & Cable TV magazine, Vol XXVI/Issue 1)

More strength to you, Dinyar and Sudeep, as you work ahead.  You know, better than most, that Content and Distribution are mutually critical to each other, and while in the last analysis it is indeed Content that drives the Media & Entertainment business and the Distribution pipes would be empty without the ‘gold’ of Content, any broadcaster with great content but no distribution support too would, well, be all dressed up and nowhere to go.

Satellite & Cable Guide: Every cover across 25 years

A thumbnail of every cover across the past 25 years, and the most important developments in each year in the Cable & Satellite space in India.

Images used with permission from SCaT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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