Anil's Reliance to forey into broadcasting soon

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New Delhi, Aug 20 (UNI) Anil Ambani's Reliance Communications are soon going to foray into broadcasting in a big way after the launch of the DTH service by their wholly-owned subsidiary Reliance Big TV Ltd.

Announcing this here today Big TV CEO Arun Kapur said their plan was to launch 20 channels, including regional ones.

''We want to have big presence in broadcasting after the DTH as we are advantageously placed and fully equipped for that,'' Mr Kapur told a press conference here.

The Reliance Big TV, the country's fifth DTH TV delivery service was launched in Mumbai yesterday.

The existing players in the field are public broadcaster Doordarshan, DishTV, Tata Sky and Sun TV.

BIG TV today announced the launch of the country's first Subscription Video on Demand service.

Mr Kapur said BIG TV customers can watch 600 movies every year, virtually converting every TV set into a 32 screen, 24x7 multiplex with fully digital audio-visual experience.

He said the Reliance DTH also launched 32 new movie channels including English, Hindi and regional exclusively for BIG TV customers, over and above the movie channels already available on existing options.

''The Home entertainment market in India has a huge appetite for movies which has been hugely underserved till date,'' he said.

BIG TV would be India's first fully Digital Home Entertainment Service on world's most advanced MPEG4 DTH platform.

To begin with it is offering over 200 channels with digital quality picture and sound, significantly higher than any other DTH or Cable Operator in India. The service would be available in over one lakh outlets in 6500 towns, making it the country's largest retail rollout of a Home Entertainment product and service so far, he said.

In Delhi, the service would be available in 4800 retail outlets, said Mr Kapur.

He said, ''The huge potential of a quality and value offering in the Home Entertainment Service market offers us a unique opportunity to tap the strength and synergies of telecommunications and entertainment sectors embedded within the Reliance ADA Group.'' The CEO said though most of the earnings would come from a few dozen towns, the company has a pan-India strategy.

Mr Kapur said the Reliance was already so much into content production that it would be entering the DTH and later the broadcasting services with an advantage that was unique because of its experience of handling telecommunication services.

BIG TV aims to capture five million customers in the first 12 months of operation. Its traget is to capture 40 per cent of the marketshare of around 12 to 13 million connections by next year as against the current offering of five million.

He said the DTH had the potential to emerge a 60 million connections industry by 2012 as the penetration was a mere six million from about 120 million TV households in the country currently.

At launch, BIG TV would be available starting at Rs 1490, which would include three months complimentary subscription. Afterwards, the packages start with Rs 100( with only free to air channels) and goes on increasing depending on the number of pay channels wanted.

The installation charges would come around Rs 1000.

Since, it is a MPEG4 technology, a different set top box would have to be used for receiving BIG TV services. All the existing DTH players use MPEG2 technology.

UNI NAZ SW CS1628

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