Wednesday, 25 October 2017

RCom to pull the plug on its DTH operations

Reliance Communications (RCom) is shutting down its DTH (direct-to-home) operations effective from November 18, reports the Economic Times.
 Reliance Communications (RCom) is shutting down its DTH (direct-to-home) operations effective from November 18, reports the Economic Times.

The company confirmed to the newspaper that since their licence is expiring they will not be able to continue with their DTH operations - Reliance Digital TV.

Mint accessed a TRAI report which said that RCom has the smallest market share of 2 percent among the other DTH players. Dish TV is at the top with a 24 percent market share and Tata Sky is catching up with a 23 percent market share.

A company spokesperson told the papers that DTH is a "non-core area for RCom." He said that the firm has asked its customers to shift to alternative providers and is working with three other providers for migrating their customers where they will be offered new schemes without additional costs.

In 2013, RCom planned to merge with Sun Group to strengthen its DTH business. However, that also didn't work out due to differences over valuation.

But the hurdles did not stop here. In April 2017, RCom believed to have retrenched nearly 800 employees as the firm was battling with its falling revenue numbers.

Recently, the firm called off their merger with Aircel. Even though this merger would have helped RCom strengthen its telecom presence, the deal was called off due to "legal and regulatory uncertainties, and various interventions by vested interests." 

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RCom to shut down DTH business

RCom cites expiry of its DTH licence as the reason behind the shutdown, says it is working with three other DTH players to migrate its customers
New Delhi: Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications has decided to shut down its direct-to-home (DTH) business under the brand Reliance Digital TV with effect from 18 November, according to an advertisement in a Malayalam publication.

The company, which started in 2008, cited expiry of its DTH licence as the reason behind the shutdown in the ad. “Since our licence is expiring, we will be shutting down our DTH service across India. We urge subscribers to make alternative arrangements to continue to watch their favourite channels,” the advertisement said.

Responding to an emailed query, Reliance Communications confirmed the development and said that the company is working with three other DTH players to migrate its customers. “DTH operations are a non-core area for RCom (Reliance Communications), and we are currently working with three leading DTH operators for seamless migration of our customers, for them to enjoy uninterrupted services. A new scheme without any additional costs will be communicated to our customers in the next few days,” a company spokesperson said.

Currently, there are six private DTH firms—Zee group-owned Dish TV India Ltd, Reliance Digital Ltd, Tata Sky Ltd, Videocon d2h Ltd, Sun Direct TV Pvt. Ltd and Bharti Telemedia Ltd. In addition to these, state broadcaster Doordarshan also runs a DTH platform for free-to-air channels called DD Free Dish.

Reliance Digital TV is the smallest player with a market share of 2% in the 65.31 million DTH subscriber market (as of June 2017), according to a report released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

Dish TV is currently the market leader with a 24% share, followed by Tata Sky with a 23% market share.

“Reliance has been debt-ridden and trying to get rid of its loss-making businesses. It also tried to merge with Sun Direct but it didn’t work out. In an industry where top three players control the market and there are talks of Reliance Jio entering the business with its predatory pricing strategy, it makes perfect sense for such a small player to shut the business altogether,” said a media industry expert, who did not want to be named.

Reliance’s move comes a year after the initiation of a consolidation process in the DTH industry with Dish TV announcing the merger of its operations with Videocon d2h in November 2016.

Once formed, the new company will be called Dish TV Videocon Ltd. Dish TV will own 55% and Videocon 45% stake in the new company. The merger is pending before the information and broadcasting ministry.

According to a 2013 report on the Indian DTH market by Hong Kong-based research firm Media Partners Asia, revenues are expected to touch $3.9 billion in 2017 and $5.3 billion by 2020, up from $1.5 billion in 2012.

Reliance Group companies have sued HT Media Ltd, Mint’s publisher, and nine others in the Bombay high court over a 2 October 2014 front-page story that they have disputed. HT Media is contesting the case.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Dish TV selects Verimatrix for DTH service security

Dish TV India has selected Verimatrix to provide card-less security for its DTH service offerings.
DishTV, Asia’s largest DTH video service provider and the only DTH operator to operate through three satellites, will use the Verimatrix Video Content Authority System (VCAS) for DVB, as part of its revenue security measures. DishTV competes with TataSky and Airtel digital.

“Our infrastructural and technological edge allows us to continually develop new innovations and revolutionize our service offerings, so it has become crucial that our revenue security measures are robust yet flexible enough to keep pace,” said V K Gupta, COO at DishTV.

VCAS for DVB offers a modern approach to multi-device streaming as video service providers like DishTV redefine their pay-TV services. The solution is compliant to DVB standards and pre-integrated with a range of partner headend and software systems.

“Dish TV has established itself as the pioneer in the Indian DTH broadcast industry, and VCAS for DVB is designed to adapt to any scenario it may face as the Indian pay-TV industry continues to undergo rapid transformation,” said Steve Oetegenn, president of Verimatrix.

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Saturday, 16 September 2017

Star Bharat debut ratings and reach impressive

MUMBAI: Well, Star India seems to be on a roll these days. No sooner had the euphoria dimmed after it outwitted others with a masterstroke $ 2.56 billion global bid for India’s premier cricket league IPL, it’s now time to savour the success of rebranded-cum-rechristened channel Star Bharat, which is rubbing shoulders with category leaders in terms of ratings and reach --- and that too within a short period.

On 28 August 2017, Life OK was revamped with a new name, logo, tag line and, of course, a lineup of fresh original shows. It debuted on free-to-air DTH platform DD FreeDish with its parent having successfully bid for a place after coughing up a shade over Rs. 160 million. That Star Bharat continues to be available on other cable and DTH platforms could be another masterstroke.

Now sample the data collated by audience measurement organization BARC India. In week 36, Star Bharat took the second position in the GEC category garnering 669588 (000s) Impressions and 378234 (000s) Impressions, respectively, in the urban+rural and rural markets. The two-week old channel’s reach too had gone up by 15 per cent from week 35-36, while the ratings or impressions grew by 29 per cent.

In contrast, in week 34 of BARC India, Life OK (the earlier avatar of Star Bharat) was placed at 10th spot in the urban+rural market with 328571 (000s) Impressions, while in the urban market it did slightly better at sixth position with 213162 (000s) Impressions.

Cometh week 35 of BARC India. After an overhaul in name and programming, Star Bharat in its first week of operation climbed to the fifth spot in urban+rural market with 519743 (000s) Impressions. It also made an entry in the rural market at the fourth spot with 278785 (000s) Impressions and in urban market occupied the sixth position with 240958 (000s) Impressions.

An independent observer of the TV industry, having seen many a channel strategy gone awry, admitted that Star’s planning and research regarding distribution and programming does seem to be working. Primarily the FTA platform approach, though audience data provided to regarding Star Bharat 
 doesn’t specify whether the viewership and reach is coming from DD FreeDish or elsewhere.

TG: HSM, 2+

Top 10 Channels pre re-branding and post:

 Top 10 Hindi GECs In week36:

Here the equation becomes interesting. According to information collated by, a 10-second ad rate for Star Bharat is presently estimated at around Rs 10,000, whereas Life OK commanded a higher price in the range of Rs 30,000-40000/10 seconds.According to the BARC India data, the four-week average for Life Ok (Week 31-34) was 345621 (‘000s) Impressions.However, the average for weeks 35-36 shows a growth of 72 per cent in the viewership of Star Bharat with figures of 594666 (‘000s) Impressions.
“The (sponsorship) rates will pick up once the ratings come. At present, it is just two weeks data. If there is stability in the ratings over the future weeks, there is a possibility that Star Bharat may increase its ad rates. Right now the marketing buzz and hype is pushing the channel, but after a few weeks it will not only stop, but may even out too,” a senior media planner told, adding that the channel, as also the advertising world, will have to wait for at least “four to six weeks” to fairly evaluate the viewership data.

Old shows such as ‘May I come in Madam’, `Sher-E-Punjab Ranjeet Singh’, ‘Ghulam’ and `Chandrakanta’ have been taken off the air by the channel management of Life OK/Star Bharat, though crime series ‘Savdhaan India’ continues on Star Bharat. The channel in its new avatar has unveiled a content line up that is aimed at living up to the brand’s philosophy of ‘Bhula ke darr, kuch alag kar’ (forget the fear of the unknown and do something different).

So, Star Bharat now flaunts shows like `Om Shanti Om’, `Kya Haal Mr. Panchaal’, `Nimki Muhkiya’, `Saam Daam Dand Bhed’ and `Ayushman Bhav’.

Reach ‘000s for week 35 and 36

Star has three other channels on the DD FreeDish platform including Star Utsav, Star Utsav Movies and Star Sports First. The last one, which debuted earlier this year, again is a new FTA offering of sorts that has been riding the kabaddi league tried to reach out to Star India for its comments, but could not elicit a response till the time of writing this report. However, if we get some comments on Star Bharat from the channel owner, it’d be updated.
The big question is: will this rebranding and repositioning strategy work for Star Bharat? To use a cliché, only time will tell… oops, sorry, BARC India will tell.

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Saturday, 26 August 2017

Star Bharat coming soon on DD Freedish / DD Directplus

Star Bharat channel is coming soon on DD Freedish / DD Directplus, from August 27 2017 onwards Life OK channel is going to be rebranded as Star Bharat and as per reports this channel is going to be Free to Air and will be available on DD Freedish / DD Direct Plus as well.

As we know in last e-auction on DD Freedish Star has won 2 slots and in that one has been filled with Star Sports First channel and now this could be the second channel.

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Thursday, 3 August 2017

Dish TV adopts TRAI tariff order; to offer channels on a la carte

NEW DELHI: Leading direct-to-home (DTH) player Dish TV has adopted the new tariff order of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) partly, in order to offer its subscribers a greater choice in selecting the channels they want to watch.

The DTH company has launched ‘Mera Apna Pack’, wherein subscribers can curate their choice of channels.

It provides subscribers the flexibility of channel selection to curate the best suitable pack. Customers can opt for popular channels by just paying Rs 8.5 per channel over and above the basic service pack for standard definition (SD) channels and Rs 17 per high definition (HD) channel.

“While ‘Freedom of Choice’ has been claimed for many decades, this initiative will truly empower consumers to choose from amongst the bouquet of channels and pay for only those channels that they would like to watch. This will also be in tune with TRAI’s new tariff regulations, an attempt to make channel pricing flexible yet affordable,” said Anil Dua, group CEO, Dish TV.


Saturday, 22 July 2017

DTH stocks fall up to 6 pc on announcement of Jio phone

Shares of broadcasting and cable TV companies on Friday slumped up to 6 per cent after Mukesh Ambani announced the launch of a 4G—enabled feature phone which would also have a cable to connect with TV as a special accessory to display the phone content on a bigger screen.

The scrip of Dish TV India plunged 5.85 per cent, Sun TV Network went down by 2.65 per cent, Hathway Cable & Datacom fell 2.58 per cent, GTPL Hathway (2.28 per cent) and Den Networks (0.13 per cent) on BSE.

“In addition to this, the announcements towards the JIO Phone — TV would also hurt the cable TV industry,” said Nitasha Shankar, Sr Vice President and Head of Research, YES Securities.

Mukesh Ambani today announced the launch of a 4G—enabled feature phone priced at “effective” zero that bundles life— long free voice calls with dirt cheap data in a bid to woo 50 crore low—income users to his 10—month old Jio.

Addressing the annual meeting of shareholders of RIL, the parent of Jio, Chairman Ambani said the handset, named JioPhone, will have “an effective price of Rs 0” as buyers will be able to get the device for a one—time refundable security deposit of Rs 1,500.

The deposit will be refunded after 36 months on return of the phone.

Voice calling will be free for life while unlimited data packs will cost Rs 153 a month on the device, he added.

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Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Reliance JioFiber Preview Plan- Offers Free 100GB Data

Reliance JioFiber Preview Plan: Reliance Jio provides so many offers to the peoples. Now, they announce Reliance JioFiber Preview plan with attractive offers. The company website provided JioFiber Preview Plan that offers 100GB of data per month at 100Mbps of speed for three months for free. Users have to pay an installation charge (refundable security deposit) of Rs.4,500. After the 100GB FUP has been consumed, speeds drop to 1Mbps.

In their Twitter page, they tweeted as “The JioFiber Preview Offer has currently being launched in select areas of Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, Ahmedabad.” Reliance Jio is expected to launch services such as DTH, smart-TV boxes, IoT solutions; alongside its 1GBps broadband. The Jio’s DTH TV services with more than 360 channels and a “seven-day catch-up option being given to users” as well.

The JioFiber preview plan was spotted by a Redditor who was able to disable the redirect page and using Google cache; we were able to confirm what was reported.

The website also revealed the cities where the JioFiber Preview Plan will be launching. The cities are Ahmedabad, Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Mumbai, Surat, Vadodara, and Vishakhapatnam. Jio will also provide its custom router during installation, which is included in the cost of the installation charge. Notably, there is also an option that says “I am interested in enhancing Jio coverage in my building,” which could hint that Jio may install a network of routers to improve the coverage in a building.

By the report, Jio will test its JioFiber Service in Pune and Mumbai at speed between 70Mbps to 100Mbps. The preview plan will be offered for three months for free, like as “Welcome Offer.” Stay tuned for more updates.

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DD FreeDish a hit with advertisers, broadcasters; subscriber base reaches 40 mn mark

With a current subscriber base of 22 million, the government run DTH service provider DD FreeDish which telecasts free-to-air channels has turned out to be a favourite amongst broadcasters as well as advertisers.

According to the latest EY report titled, India’s FTA market – 2017, the subscriber base of DD FreeDish is projected to reach 40 million users in the next two–three years. (Representative Image: Reuters)

With a current subscriber base of 22 million, the government run direct-to-home (DTH) service provider DD FreeDish which telecasts free-to-air channels has turned out to be a favourite amongst broadcasters as well as advertisers. According to the latest EY report titled, India’s FTA market – 2017, the subscriber base of DD FreeDish is projected to reach 40 million users in the next two–three years. As a matter of fact, in the latest round of bidding for slots on FreeDish held on July 4, broadcasters paid R85 crore as carriage fee for 11 slots. “FTA market has become important, with the rise in subscriber base. However, these viewers are going through a transition, as FTA is the first step in TV viewing before they migrate to paid platforms,” said Rohit Gupta, president, network sales and international business, Sony Pictures Network.

The latest report on FTA market by ICICI Securities points out that the rise in FTA channels has been driven by Broadcast Association Research Council ‘s (BARC), measurement of ratings in rural India According to BARC ratings for week 26 (June 24-30, 2017), in the rural markets, Zee Anmol – the FTA channel from the house of Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEEL) grabbed the top spot with 470,357,000 weekly impressions, followed by Colors Rishtey at 432,128,000 weekly impressions at number two position. This has whetted advertisers’ interest.

“Companies such as Hindustan Unilever (HUL), Procter & Gamble (P&G) have a huge chunk of their target consumers residing in rural India. Thus FTA channels have become the perfect platform to advertise. In the last one year, these companies have increased their advertising spend by 50% on FTA channels,” said a senior media planner. As per the ICICI Securities report, the FTA advertising market which was pegged at Rs 400 crore –Rs 500 crore CY16, is expected to grow to Rs 800 crore- Rs 1,000 crore by end of CY17.

 Interestingly, advertising rates too have gone up in the last one year by 100%. Currently a ten second ad spot during prime-time on FTA channels costs anywhere in the range of Rs 10,000 – Rs 20,000 compared to the rate of Rs 5,000 – Rs 10,000, till December last year. Compared to this a ten second ad spot during prime-time on Star Plus, ZEE TV, costs between Rs 80,000 – Rs 1 lakh.

“FTA channels are growing at the expense of paid channels. The situation is similar to that of paid video over-the-top platforms (OTT) versus the free platforms. In India viewers are fine with the idea of watching content a bit late if it’s for free. Going forward broadcasters are expected to face a tough time converting these consumers into paid,” said Ashish Sehgal, COO, Zee Unimedia.

The ICICI Securities report estimates an annual revenue opportunity loss of Rs 1,800 crore for broadcasters from pay-TV, “assuming 300 million subscribers could have generated monthly content average revenue per user (ARPU) of Rs 50,” said analysts in the ICICI securities report.
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Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Alliance with Tata to help Bharti Airtel close gap with Vodafone-Idea

Bharti Enterprises and the Tata Group have held exploratory talks to evaluate a mega alliance involving their telecom, enterprise services, overseas cable and direct-to-home TV businesses
 Bharti Airtel will emerge stronger in the enterprise and undersea cable business and narrow the gap with the Vodafone-Idea combine in mobile service revenue market share (RMS) if the Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Enterprises and the Tatas form an alliance, analysts said.

However, Airtel will face some challenges from a merger: over Rs 30,000 crore in debt and a modest 48 million subscribers of Tata’s mobile service business, breach of market share cap in eight circles, and the need to spend $1.7 billion (over Rs 11,000 crore) to pay market rates for airwaves in the 1800 MHz band held by Tata Teleservices to use them for 4G, they said.

Bharti Enterprises and the Tata Group held exploratory talks to evaluate a mega alliance involving their telecom, enterprise services, overseas cable and direct-to-home TV businesses, ET reported last week. Both entities have not commented on the matter.

If a deal gets confirmed “and subsequently completed, Bharti Airtel would have an RMS of 40% on the cellular business front, closing the gap with the potential Idea-Vodafone merged entity (that will command a 44% RMS),” Bank of America-Merrill Lynch said in a note to clients. At present, Airtel’s RMS is 33%.
 Theoretically, this merger would also make Airtel stronger in the enterprise and undersea businesses, where the telco “is currently not in a dominant position,” the US bank said.

Analysts expect any potential Tata-Bharti mega alliance to unlock synergies in the direct-to-home TV industry.

BankAm-Merrill Lynch said the DTH industry would turn into a two-player market with a Airtel-Tata Sky combine commanding 43% of the subscribers and Dish-Videocon controlling 45%. Edelweiss backed the view and said such a potential merger would strengthen the bargaining power of DTH companies and help lower content cost.

Experts see strong business sense for Airtel to buy both the listed Tata Communications, a provider of network, cloud and security services, and Tata Sky.
“TataComm potentially brings a lot of value to the table by virtue of its sizeable intra-city fibre resources, its sub-sea cable system assets coupled with its strong enterprise business which would complement Airtel’s,” said an analyst at a Mumbai-based brokerage.

Brokerages also foresee minority/strategic stakeholder interests in Tata group outfits such as the listed Tata Communications and Tata Sky as a potential hurdle.

Edelweiss said minority stakeholders like the government – which owns 26% of Tata Communications – and Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox (owner of 30% in Tata Sky) “may not find their strategic stakes relevant in the combined (Tata-Bharti) entity and alignment of their interest could be a challenge.”

Among the challenges are Tata group’s mobility business assets, analysts said.

BankAm-Merrill Lynch said the Tatas’ holding of spectrum in the 850 MHz band may prove inadequate for Bharti Airtel to launch full-scale 4G LTE. Since the Tatas have 2.5 MHz of airwaves in the 850 MHz band, which are expiring in a few years, such spectrum can be used only for narrow-band LTE, the US brokerage said.

Edelweiss said the synergy benefits “are not meaningful” because a significant chunk of Tata’s spectrum holdings are unliberalised, for which market prices haven’t been paid.

BankAm-Merrill Lynch estimates Bharti would need to invest $1.7 billion to liberalise Tata Tele’s 1800 MHz spectrum and would also cross the revenue cap in eight circles.

India’s telecom M&A norms require a single entity’s revenue and subscriber market share to be below 50% and spectrum holding to be below specified caps. 
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