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Hathway Cable & Datacom gears up for OTT and VAS play
MUMBAI: Hathway Cable & Datacom, India’s largest multi-system operator (MSO), is entering the over-the-top (OTT) space and will also focus on value-added services (VAS) to up its revenues.
Asianet Satellite Communications, Hathway’s sister company, has already launched an OTT service. Hathway will, thus, become the second MSO in India to have an OTT play.
Hathway Cable & Datacom is in the process of finalising its vendors. “The trial run should start in the next quarter. We will launch the OTT service soon after that. The OTT platform will enable our subscribers to access TV everywhere,” Hathway Cable & Datacom MD & CEO Jagdish Kumar told TelevisionPost.com.
The service will initially be offered free to subscribers. Eventually, a subscription model will be built in.
Kumar does not believe that it will cannibalise the MSO’s cable TV subscriber base. “It will complement cable TV viewing. That is also the trend in the US. Comcast has a growing model for it,” he said.
Customers will need to download an app for accessing live streaming of content. Asianet, for instance, has launched Asianet Mobile TV, an app for live streaming of Malayalam channels.
Seeking to build wider content revenue streams, Hathway is also going to strengthen its VAS offering.
“We already have set-top boxes capable of offering gaming content. We are going to beef up our gaming offering. Besides, you will see a lot of activity on the video-on-demand and movies-on-demand front,” Kumar said.
Hathway will have revenue-share arragements with the content providers. The MSO will also ramp up its own content. “We run a clutch of channels, including cable movie channels. We will up investments in content,” said Kumar.
Hathway Cable & Datacom has restructured its content vertical by expanding the role of EVP – content and VAS Shirish Ruparel to content, carriage, ad sales, OTT service offerings and VAS.
The MSO has also roped in Star India assistant VP of affiliate sales NM Rao as head of content and carriage to handle all-India content and carriage deals. He will oversee content, carriage and ad sales monetisation while also developing Hathway’s in-house channel bouquet into a series of strong pan-India and regional channels.