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Asianet beefs up mobile TV app, eyes 0.5 mn subscribers

MUMBAI: Multi-system operator ( MSO) Asianet Satellite Communications is targeting half a million subscribers from Kerala and Tamil Nadu for its freemium mobile TV app, Asianet Mobile TV+.

The MSO expects 10% of that base to become paying subscribers. Currently, it has few thousands of paying subscribers.

Satish Kumar Menon“We plan to hit half a million subscribers by the end of this year. We hope to have 10% of that base as paid subscribers,” Asianet Satellite Communications EVP of OTT services Satish Kumar Menon told TelevisionPost.com.

The mobile TV app, which was launched in August 2015 as Asianet Mobile TV, was recently rechristened Asianet Mobile TV+ to reflect new services that the company will roll out like video-on-demand (VoD), catch-up TV, Internet of Things (IoT) and healthcare.

Talking about the new services, Menon said, “The app has an entertainment module of 50 channels. We will keep on increasing the number of channels. Apart from that, we are bringing in VoD, pay on pay by demand and catch-up TV. On top of that, we are bringing in an IoT module. Similarly, we are rolling out office and home automation. We are also adding a healthcare module.”

The IoT module will help users monitor their home and office from the app through camera surveillance. It will help control home appliances like geysers and ACs.

Hong Kong-based XperioLabs is the technology partner of the MSO for the mobile TV app.
The app is available free and on subscription basis. Users downloading the app can access up to 10 channels for free. To access more channels, users will have to shell out Rs 50 per month as subscription fee. The app will be fully free for one month. Earlier, the app was running free and had fewer channels and services.

Currently, the app has 50 channels in Malayalam, Tamil and Hindi. Most of the channels on the app are free to air (FTA). It does not have channels from any of the mainstream networks. It also has local cable channels operated by Asianet. The 50 channels include a mix of entertainment, news, travel, lifestyle and spiritual. The app also has radio channels in English, Hindi and Malayalam.

The app is available globally. The subscription price for global consumers is $40 for a year. The MSO will geo-block channels in markets where any broadcaster has an existing partnership with any platform to prevent piracy.

Menon sees Asianet Mobile TV+ as an aggregator of channels. “We are aggregating channels so that users don’t have to download individual TV channel apps. Rather, they should get access to key regional channels through our app,” he noted.

Asianet doesn’t have any revenue share arrangement with any broadcaster, he revealed. For services like VoD, the MSO will have a revenue share arrangement.

Services like VoD, catch-up TV, IoT and healthcare will be priced separately. “We have not priced VoD because it is getting ready. Most of the TV channels in Kerala are willing to give their archival content for VoD, which we will monetise. We will also have movies on VoD service,” Menon stated.

G-ShankaranarayanaAsianet Satellite Communications president and COO G Sankaranarayana said, “Mobile consumption has been tremendous and Asianet is poised to ride the big wave with Asianet Mobile TV+, offering services across the globe in entertainment and various other modules to the global Indian audience. From Asianet digital cable TV and Asianet broadband services available in few states in the country, Asianet Mobile TV+ service will be the platform to extend the trusted Asianet stamp of service across the world, for access and enjoyment by anybody anywhere.”

Asianet is the first MSO in the country to launch an OTT service. The company, which is a leading digital cable TV and broadband service provider in Kerala, has extended the digital cable TV services to various states in South India. The company has plans to launch various other value-added services through the OTT platform.

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