Posts Tagged ‘iptv’

IPTV will struggle to make mark in India

November 25, 2007

MUMBAI: Global IT research and advisory firm Gartner Inc said Internet Protocol television (IPTV) will face a raft of problems that will hold it back for at least five years, foremost being the low base of broadband connections to households in India.

Despite being a more advanced technology capable of additional functionality, IPTV is not well placed in India when compared against other digital broadcast distribution channels such as direct-to-home (DTH) satellite and digital cable. There’s also a large existence of analog cable TV users in India, who pay almost half for cable television when compared to digital subscribers, so have low propensity to shift to IPTV.

Gartner senior research analyst Neha Gupta said, “The primary reason for minimal IPTV uptake is the low broadband penetration in India. Without a mass-market broadband usage in place, the Indian IPTV subscriber base will struggle to exceed one million in the next four years.”

The Indian government has set aggressive targets for increasing broadband coverage, but even with strong growth, the penetration will stay low for the next five years. In 2006, the size of the consumer broadband market in India stood at 1.6 million lines and is expected to grow to 6.4 million by 2011.

“India’s broadband penetration problems are unlikely to be resolved without the use of wireless broadband, either WiMAX or high-speed mobile services such as High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA). While they will enable a better Internet surfing experience, we do not consider these as access technologies ready to deliver high-quality IP broadcast video to the TV set in the home,” said Gupta.

Moreover, 2007 is emerging as a critical year for India’s pay TV business, with TRAI mandating the use of conditional access systems in three major cities while kicking off a phased implementation across the country; and more competitors are moving into the fast growing DTH market. Many middle class and wealthier Indians in metropolitan areas are making up their minds now about whether to upgrade to digital cable or take up DTH satellite, resulting in long-term contracts with the service provider. The existing pay TV platforms are tightening their grip on the market and will effectively block IPTV operators from being able to capture its target group of wealthy households.

Secondly, under the pricing regulations imposed on the pay-TV industry, IPTV will effectively be priced at the same level as digital cable and DTH, resulting in ARPUs in the range of Rs 300 – 500, as opposed to analog cable users paying Rs 150 – 300. IPTV therefore will not be able to differentiate itself from digital cable or DTH players in terms of price.

Indian carriers are unconvinced that IPTV offers them much revenue opportunity and, as a result, the leading state-owned carriers have adopted a new style of model that brings in third-party capital and ideas to run the IPTV operations under a franchise style model. While it is the carriers who hold the IPTV license rights and the broadband access infrastructure, the third-party investors buy the equipment, source content and run the IPTV operations in a particular city on behalf of the carrier. In return they get a major share of the revenue.

The franchise style model being adopted by the leading state-owned carriers is positive for the IPTV industry and brings new private sector ideas, rigour and capital into the business. According to Gartner, this model will help speed up the deployment of IPTV in the early years compared with what the carriers might achieve on their own. For the carriers involved, this model gives them a good way to offer triple-play and value-add to their broadband offerings without spending heavily on new equipment and expertise. Though innovative, this is an untried and still risky model; much will ride on the way in which the agreements are structured between carrier and franchisee.

Gupta recommends, “Carriers should consider moving into DTH satellite to help secure customers who can later be converted to IPTV or offered interactive services through a hybrid DTH-IP broadband STB. Alternatively, carriers could partner with DTH operators to offer customers a hybrid STB capable of accessing DTH for channels and using broadband for video on demand (VOD) interactivity. The hybrid model offers an inexpensive route to triple play, while providing extra revenue through cross-selling pay-TV to broadband and voice customers. Such partnerships have collectively added around 1.5 million subscribers in the USA, and we envision a similar success in India.”

Talks on for Zee, Sun rights for IPTV

November 25, 2007

BSNL, Reliance Communications draw up big plans to cash in on the boom

The IOL deal is expected to trigger IPTV boom for BSNL in Karnataka

IPTV service provides see huge potential

in tier-II cities

BANGALORE: Bharath Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) and Reliance Communications Ltd. are gearing to cater for the needs of Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) subscribers in Karnataka.

BSNL Karnataka will be the nodal circle for signing agreements with all IPTV service providers. BSNL is a key node for broadband protocol in India.

Service provider India Online (IOL) is the franchisee for IPTV. It is negotiating with Zee and Sun TV for securing rights to their bouquet of channels. Once this happens the demand for BSNL IPTV will double in the State — from a monthly enquiry of 600 connections to 1,200 connections, said Chief General Manager of the BSNL Karnataka Circle T.S. Kuppuswamy.

Mr. Kuppuswamy told TV Today that multi-pay channel bouquets would have to come to IPTV which would multiply the business prospects of the franchisee.

Mr. Kuppuswamy said the IPTV provided the advantage of video on demand to the customers. This meant the customer of IPTV had an entire range of services, including basic telephony, internet browsing, television in addition to the video-on-demand. He said the BSNL had to give the customer a dedicated bandwidth only for the video-on-demand. The value added features such as pay channels, tele-education and health consultation would be part of IPTV. The present BSNL network was capable of streaming all these services to the end user and the quality of sound and picture was assured, he said.

Reliance Communications and Microsoft had announced a strategic partnership to deliver IPTV. With Karnataka having the requisite infrastructure in place for IPTV, service providers were now concentrating on Bangalore and tier-II cities such as Mangalore, Mysore, Belgaum, Hubli-Dharwad and Gulburga.

In addition to video-on-demand, Reliance Communications planned to offer digital video recording (DVR), instant channel changing, and personal media sharing. IPTV subscribers would be able to watch popular standard definition (SD) content as well as high definition (HD) content — for the first time in India, said the company. The service would be launched by March 2008.

According to president of Home and Enterprise Business of Reliance Communications Prakash Bajpai, Reliance Communication had kept in readiness the integrated (wireless and wire line) and convergent (voice, data and video) digital network that were capable of supporting services covering over 13,000 towns and 5,00,000 villages.

Reliance Communication owned and operated internet protocol enabled connectivity infrastructure, comprising 1,65,000 km of fibre optic cable systems in India, the U.S., Europe, West Asia and the Asia Pacific region, he said.