IMCL lines up slew of initiatives to grow cable TV, HITS biz

MUMBAI: Hinduja Ventures Ltd (HVL)-owned IndusInd Media and Communications Ltd (IMCL) has lined-up a slew of initiatives to remain relevant in the highly competitive cable TV space.

Among the key initiatives planned by the company includes the launch of an over the top (OTT) service for its customer. IMCL has partnered OTT platform Viu for its upcoming OTT platform.

Following in the footsteps of peers like DEN Networks and Hathway Cable and Datacom, the company has revealed plans to launch 4K hybrid STBs.

IMCL has also launched 22 premium ad-free channels in multiple genres under the ‘NXT Services’ brand in partnership with One Take Media and Shemaroo Entertainment on a revenue share basis.

It has also launched a channel in SD and HD dedicated for live events in Mumbai across sports, art, culture and religious.

Internet service provider (ISP) ONE Fiber, a part of IMCL’s parent company HVL, claims to be offering up to 1Gbps fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) connectivity. ONE Fiber has also launched its OTT device and service – to complement InDigital’s enhanced channel offerings with a high-end service

The cable TV and headend in the sky (HITS) service provider has also announced special offers for InDigital customers to upgrade to next generation STBs and services, including high-speed internet.

InDigital, the digital cable brand of IMCL, plans to expand the television and broadband combo-offerings to other cities in the next four weeks

As part of its expansion plans, the company plans to seed 2 million STBs to take its cable and HITS universe to 7 million. The company’s video base stood at 4.6 million, as on 31 March.

Vynsley Fernandes, the newly appointed CEO of IMCL, has said that the company is eyeing 1 million customers in digital addressable system (DAS) Phase IV areas. The remaining 1 million will come from the first three phases of DAS.

Another focus area of growth will be on growing the average revenue per user (ARPU) in the first three phases of DAS.

Sharpening its focus on Mumbai, the company has launched ‘I Am Mumbai, I Am InDigital’ initiative aimed at making InDigital Mumbai the biggest digital distribution platform in terms of offering with 700+ SD and HD television channels and 40 radio stations.

“We are the only integrated digital distribution platform in the country today. We are present in cable, satellite and broadband. Nobody else has this as a single offering. As a subscriber base, we are just shy of the five million mark in terms of households. Our universe is 95% prepaid,” Fernandes stated.

From a P&L perspective, he noted that the content cost is the biggest challenge. He also stated that IMCL has executed most of the content deals.

As part of the future of an integrated digital experience, One Fiber, a Hinduja Group company also showcased its OTT box – to complement the digital cable offerings.

OneOTT Intertainment Ltd (OIL) is the Hinduja Group’s foray into Telecom and Internet Services. Oil’s vision is to transform the lives of customers by enabling them with an always-on-high-speed-internet-access for their on-demand entertainment.

OIL CEO Yugal K Sharma pointed out that the company delivers high-speed internet to its consumers over a robust-high-performance ‘One Fiber’ grid – with speeds up to 1Gbps. The ONE service has already rolled out in key cities including Mumbai and a new city is being added virtually every other day. OIL has also entered into strategic tie-ups with OTT content platforms – and coupled with the InDigital services; the joint offerings will be formidable.”

He noted that the industry is also moving towards Intertainment. The word One means that in the coming time you will have everything on one wire, one box, one family, one TV and one home and one intertainment.

OIL is leveraging for broadband the already existing underground fibre system in Mumbai that was built for cable TV. He noted that the plan for 32 cities is to use its own fibre network or the company has a strategic partner. The 1Gig plans were rolled out two months back. He noted that the company is in a good place, product wise, capacity wise, capability wise. The differentiation will be on customer service and this is the go to market strategy.

Talking about the HITS business, Fernandes noted that one advantage of HITS technology is that it is on C Band unlike DTH which is on Ku band. The latter is susceptible to any change in weather whereas C Band is robust and is not affected by things like snow, heavy monsoon. He also pointed out that unlike DTH, HITS can provide segmented offerings as per the area and demand.

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