April 2018



Reliance Industries has signed a pact to buy out Saavn music app for $104 million in cash and rest in stock, to merge it with its own digital music service JioMusic, valuing the combined music platform at about $1 billion.

Reliance's JIO will hold roughly 75% of the merged entity, with JioMusic's implied valuation at $670 million.

Reliance is acquiring majority stake from existing Saavn shareholders, including Tiger Global Management, Liberty Media and Bertelsmann among others. The 3 co-founders of Saavn, Rishi Malhotra, Paramdeep Singh and Vinodh Bhat, will continue in their leadership roles and will drive growth of the combined entity.

"The investment and combination of our music assets with Saavn underlines our commitment to further boost the digital ecosystem and provide unlimited digital entertainment services to consumers over a strong uninterrupted network," said Akash Ambani, Director, Reliance Jio, who is said to have driven the deal.

Separately, the Reliance Jio board approved raising ₹ 20,000 crore in debt for capex needs.


On 22 March, the Supreme Court did not grant permission to Reliance Communications Ltd (RCom) to sell its wireless assets to Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd for $ 3.8 billion. The case will next be heard on April 5. This is a setback for RCom, which is trying to reduce its debt worth $6.8 billion and pay back its creditors. Ericsson has a pending arbitration and wants to prevent RCom from selling assets without its permission, but State Bank of India, one of RCom's biggest creditors, has filed a petition to the apex court to allow the sale to go through.


Turkey's parliament has approved a new law that allows its radio and TV watchdog regulator to vet Internet broadcasts. This effectively grants the government power to intervene against web content, including Netflix Inc.

The new law requires online video streaming companies and Pay-TV services to apply for a license from the regulator - RTUK.

In the recent past, RTUK has become notorious for aggressively handing out penalties or banning broadcasts that it judges to be immoral, inconsistent with Turkish family values, or that stray from the government line on politics.

Courts and government agencies have repeatedly blocked access to Twitter and YouTube on complaints of content offensive to the nation's leadership. Even Wikipedia has been blocked since last year. Twitter says that Turkey submits about half of all global requests made to remove tweets, by far the most of any country.

The law extends Turkey's control over the media consumed by 80 million resident Turks.


OTT platform YuppTV has bagged exclusive digital and TV media rights for Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 for Europe, South America, South East Asian countries, and non-exclusive rights for Australia.

The event, scheduled for 7 April to 27 May 2018, will have 8 cricket teams playing.

Star India is the exclusive global media rights owner of IPL till 2022.

The matches will be available live on or via the YuppTV app on their smart TVs, smart Blu-ray players, streaming media players, gaming consoles, smartphones, and tablets.


Shilpa Shetty has declared her plans to launch a Subscription Video on Demand (SVoD) service dedicated to health & wellness.

Shetty says she has been working on the SVoD service for past year & has already created 100 hours of content. It remains to be seen if viewers will pay for the service, as envisaged by Shetty. less than 10% of Indian OTT is consumed against payment.

Shetty already has a YouTube channel 'Shilpa Shetty Kundra'. Content is related to healthy cooking, fitness and yoga. The channel has more than 0.5 million subscribers.

Last year, Shetty launched her gaming app "Domestic Diva - Cooking Diner Cafe" which tests the culinary skills of players. It requires players to earn points by cooking dishes and serving customers. She claims the app is doing well & production cost was recovered in the first week of engagement.


India is witnessing an explosive growth in data consumption led by digital content play on smartphones. And video, which is the new language of internet, is leading the bulk of this consumption.

For the quarter ended December 31, 2017, data consumption per user on Airtel's network grew by 450% to 5.3 GB and the overall data traffic on the network grew by 550%. This seems to be in response to the success of Airtel's infinity prepaid & postpaid plans.

Wynk - Airtel's OTT platform has also seen a spurt in data consumption, according to Airtel Wynk Chief Executive Officer, Sameer Batra.


The number of new broadband subscribers has been slowing down in the USA.

US MSOs & telcos who account for 95% of the market, added only 2.1 million net high-speed internet customers in 2017, compared to 2.7 million in 2016, according to Leitchman Research Group (LRG).

Interestingly, broadband subscribers prefer MSOs to telcos. MSOs added 2.7 million broadband subs in 2017, while DSL telcos lost about 625,000 subs.

The top broadband providers covered by LRG in the report account for nearly 95.1 million subs, with cable representing 61.2 million of that total.

"The top broadband providers in the US added nearly 4.8 million net broadband subscribers over the past two years, Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, said in a statement. The top cable companies accounted for 130% of the net broadband additions in 2017, following 122% of the net adds in 2016."


Vodafone India-owned You Broadband says it will invest ₹ 600 Crores as capital expenditure in the next 2 years. This is a huge increase over the ₹ 54 Crore the invested in in FY17. Most of this will be 'funded' via a 1 year credit from vendors.

In FY17, You Broadband almost trebled its net profit to ₹ 20 crore, from ₹ 7 crore a year earlier.

Its revenues have grown 22% compounded annually for the past 23 years. Operating margin also increased to 28.5% in FY17 from 9.7% in FY15.

Incorporated in 2001, You Broadband is a category- A ISP providing broadband in over 18 cities. It was fully acquired by Vodafone India in June 2017.


Chennai has the fastest fixed broadband speed among the 20 large Indian cities with a mean download and upload speed of 32.67 Mbps and 26.15 Mbps respectively, according to the Speedtest Global Index. The mean download speed in Chennai is 57.7% faster than India as a whole.

Bengaluru and Hyderabad follow closely, with speeds of 31.09 / 27.2 Mbps & 28.93 / 25.09 Mbps respectively for downloads / uploads

India ranked 67th in the world in February for download speed over fixed broadband based on the Speedtest Global Index, with an average speed of 20.72 Mbps.

Patna (12.9 Mbps) had the slowest speed among the 20 large cities, 62.4% slower than the country average. Nagpur, Jaipur, Kanpur, and Ahmedabad round out the bottom five. It's also notable that the download speeds of Kanpur, Lucknow, Pune, and Nagpur are significantly slower than that of their respective states.

Northeast India accounts for 4 of the 5 slowest states. Mizoram is the slowest @ 3.62 Mbps, Manipur second slowest @ 4.30 Mbps & Tripura third @ 4.52 Mbps.


The penetration of smartphone and mobile devices has enabled single TV homes to become multi-screen homes, Viacom18 Digital Ventures COO Gaurav Gandhi said while participating in a panel discussion at FICCI Frames 2018.

He said some people are disillusioned with what TV is offering and are turn to OTT platforms for differentiated content. In India, OTT is penetrating deeper and becoming more regional.

The internet makes it easier to serve small markets as distribution costs are almost zero, and content is sought out directly by the consumer.

Families have stopped purchase of second and third TV sets in children's rooms. They view exactly what they want, on their own (smartphone) screen.


TRAI's 20 Jan 2018 recommendation on in-flight connectivity, will be taken to the Telecom Commission "sooner than later" and in-flight connectivity "could be a reality soon" according to N Sivasailam - Special Secretary DoT.

He said discussions were on within DoT on whether to allow both voice and data on flights or only voice.

"No, Sir. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) have not conducted any specific study to examine the security implications of the Wi-Fi connectivity," the Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said in a written reply in Rajya Sabha. One of the key security concerns is monitoring data and voice transmission.

In-flight connectivity providers such as SITA ONAIR & INMARSAT have confirmed they can meet the government requirements. In fact, the specified gateway or interception facilities are already being implemented in several other countries.


Tata Sky has extended its 'Live TV' mobile service to the web.

Tata Sky subscribers can watch live TV and on-demand content at by logging in with their registered mobile number.

The web service offers live TV channels. It also offers archived On-Demand content like TV shows, movies, and shorts on demand.

The DTH operator had launched its TV on mobile service in October 2013, offering over 220 live TV channels & 3500+ titles on demand.


"Airtel will acquire the ownership of the India leg of GBI's India-Middle East-Europe submarine cable. Airtel will also pick up a significant capacity on Middle East-Europe leg of GBI's cable system," Airtel said in a statement.

GBI (Gulf Bridge International) is a multilayer terrestrial and sub-sea cable meshed network, which bridges the East to the West through the Middle East. Submarine cables are considered the backbone of internet.

GBI will add to Airtel's existing global network of IMEWE, EIG, SMW4 and MENA submarine cables.


Only 3% of Indians pay for their Video on Demand (VoD) streaming service. 97% prefer to watch whatever is available free, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics' TV and Media Strategies service.

India is at the bottom of the top 25 countries, in the 2017 report. US & Canada lead the chart with 59% & 51% paying for their VoD.

There are now more than 250 million pay VoD subscribers, globally. This is projected to touch 300 million by end 2018 & more than 450 million by 2022.

Global SVoD monthly ARPU 2017 was $9.46, & the total number of streaming video subscriptions reached 345 million by the end of 2017. Households paying for streaming video services used on average 1.39 services, according to the report.


Taking a dig at ISRO, DoT's special secretary N Sivasailam said "Here is the paradox, we produce the cheapest satellite but the costliest (satellite) bandwidth."

He pointed out that it will cost around ₹ 150 to serve one Indian user via satellite, whereas in the US, it costs $1 or ₹ 65.

"If you have the volume of business, we should be able to provide at the rates internationally available and that is a matter of some concern for us. We have been working on it but not necessarily successful on this," he added.

While conceding that ISRO helps take satellite connectivity to 5,240 far flung locations in the country, including 4,300 in the North East, Sivasailam said the exorbitant cost of spectrum makes "operations unviable." n