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T-commerce – Holds great promise - Views on News from Equitymaster
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  • Nov 14, 2000

    T-commerce – Holds great promise

    We have been hearing of E-commerce and M-commerce for quite some time. But, here comes a new extension for e-commerce – T-commerce (television commerce).

    In an interview with Mr. Vijay Mansukhani of MIRC Electronics, he said that demand for television (TVs), especially Internet based web TVs, would go up with the government deregulating DTH (direct to home). Consumers would be able to receive more than 100 channels with installation of a single dish, which may cost around Rs 12,000-Rs 15,000.

    India is ranked 33rd in terms of number of people per TV ownership among 45 countries surveyed by Asia Week. This goes to show the potential of the Indian TV market. Knowing this, consumer durable majors like BPL, Videocon, MIRC and Samsung have already launched Web TVs in India. In fact, Samsung has gone a step ahead by launching set top boxes that enable consumers to surf Internet using a conventional TV. However, TVs have an in-built disadvantage. They don’t have memory power and may become outdated. As a result, downloads are not possible. So, a concept called black boxes would replace existing Web TVs.

    Black boxes would be something like a processor (in-built or detachable), which could be upgraded as and when it is necessary. Therefore, consumers need not renew the whole TV but just upgrade the black box. Given the fact that Indian consumers do not sell their TVs at least for 10 years, this holds great promise. Besides, media giants in India like Zee, Sun Network and In-cable Network have big plans for Internet through cable (broadband). Therefore, bandwidth will not be a problem. This would also enable consumers to buy or sell through television (T-commerce).

    But the question is will T-commerce become a reality? It seems to be so. More than 80 m households in India have TVs in their home. India sells more than 6 m television sets per annum (3 m colour and 3 m black & white televisions). Penetration of cable TV in India has increased from 412,000 households in FY92 to 30 m households in FY00 (estimates vary between 25 m and 35 m households). Assuming a 15% growth per annum, cable TV penetration would touch 50 m households by FY03.

    It is precisely this that consumer durable companies are planning to capitalise on, as Internet via cable will not make sense unless and until television sets are compatible. Given the fact that computers are not affordable to a common man, web based television holds great promise.

    Though volumes for web TVs are lack lustre at the moment, television sets may not be the same as we see it today. We are going to see television as an e-commerce enabler or to term it properly, T-Commerce enabler.



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