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Bhaskar Prakashan gets provisional MSO licence for MP and Chhattisgarh

MUMBAI: The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) has granted provisional multi-system operator (MSO) registration to Bhaskar Prakashan for the states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

Promoted by the Jabalpur-based Agarwal family, Bhaskar Prakashan has been engaged in cable television business since 2004. Currently, its cable TV operators are limited to Jabalpur.

The company has been engaged in printing and service activities related to printing.

A June 2015 ICRA report noted that the company had made gradual progress in revamping its operations as an MSO in Jabalpur and seeded 100,000 set-top boxes (STBs) in its market.

The same ICRA report stated that the company had reported an operating income of Rs 115.7 crore (Rs 1.15 billion) and a profit before tax (PBT) of Rs 10 crore (Rs 100 million) for FY14, compared to an operating income of Rs 97.7 crore (Rs 977 million) and a PBT of Rs 6.6 crore (Rs 66 million) for the previous year.

For the nine months ended 31 December 2015, the company had achieved an operating income of Rs 93 crore (Rs 930 million) and a PBT of Rs 8.7 crore (Rs 87 million), compared to an operating income of Rs 86.1 crore (Rs 861 million) and a PBT of Rs. 6.1 crore (Rs 61 million) for the year-ago period.

Incidentally, an MSO by the name of Bhaskar Cable Network had received provisional MSO registration in 2013 to operate in Jabalpur. It is not clear whether this MSO is part of Bhaskar Prakashan.

Bhaskar Prakashan is not to be confused with DB Corp, which is informally known as the Dainik Bhaskar Group, and is a listed entity. The directors of Bhaskar Prakashan are Kailash Agarwal, Rakesh Agarwal, Ajay Agrawal and Sumit Agarwal.

Incidentally, the Dainik Bhaskar Group was also involved in the cable TV business until it exited by selling its 49 per cent stake in JV company Hathway Bhaskar Multinet to Hathway Cable & Datacom. Hathway Bhaskar Multinet has cable TV distribution networks in Bhopal, Indore and Jaipur.

Bhaskar Prakashan is among 35 MSOs who have received provisional registrations. As per the MIB, the total number of provisional MSO registrations in the country stands at 382. The only MSO in the new batch to receive a pan-India provisional licence is Tin Tin Cable TV Network.

Meanwhile, the MIB has revised the permitted areas of operation of Fastway Transmission and GTPL Hathway.

The permitted areas of operation of Fastway have been revised to Phase II, III and IV cities from 38 cities in Phase II areas.

Similarly, the areas of operation of DL GTPL Cabnet have been expanded to Surat, Tapi, Navsari and Dang districts in Gujarat; Dhule, Nandurbar and Jalgaon in Maharashtra except Nasik; and Khargone district Madhya Pradesh. The MSO earlier had registration to operate only in Surat and Nashik.

GTPL Hathway’s provisional registration has been revised to pan-India. This is the second time GTPL Hathway’s areas of operation have been revised.

Earlier, the registration was pan-India except Hyderabad, Faridabad, Srinagar, Bangalore, Mysore, Bhopal, Jabalpur, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Coimbatore, Agra, Allahabad, Ghaziabad, Kanpur, Lucknow, Meerut, Varanasi, and Chandigarh. Prior to that, the registration was only limited to Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Assam, and Jharkhand.

Hyderabad-based Subhodaya Digital Entertainment’s areas of operation have been amended to make it applicable for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana under Phases II, III and IV. Earlier, the registration was limited to Andhra Pradesh including Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation under Phases II, III and IV.

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