February 2019



Prasar Bharati News Service, a 24x7 digital platform for the global audience, set to begin in the next few weeks. According to reports, it has been conceptualised in 2017 by a panel headed by Prasar Bharati Chairman A. Surya Prakash.

The app based digital platform will broadcast international news to a global audience to counter anti-India narratives in the foreign media. The app will offer services in multiple languages.

The platform will provide news in the form of text, video, podcast and alerts.

The digital platform will include a new 24X7 AIR stream, broadcasting news bulletins primarily in English and Hindi. This stream will go live in the next few weeks.


US media group Viacom has announced it is paying US$ 320 million in cash to acquire a free-of-charge TV streaming service, Pluto TV. This marks Viacom's entry into TV streaming. "Today marks an important step forward in Viacom's evolution," Viacom chief executive Bob Bakish said in a statement. "As the video marketplace continues to segment, we see an opportunity to support the ecosystem in creating products at a broad range of price points, including free," he added. Viacom is optimistic about the ad-supported streaming television market.

Founded in 2013, Los Angeles based Pluto TV streams more than 100 channels of ad-supported television on the internet. It claims more than 12 million active monthly users, most of them using televisions connected to the internet.

Viacom's channels include Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon, as well as Paramount Pictures.


Responding to the TRAI's consultation paper on regulating OTT, Star India has stated that TRAI cannot regulate OTT as it is not a telecommunication service.

Star India says OTT platforms are not licensees under Section 4 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, hence TRAI does not have the authority under the Act (Telecom Regulatory Authority Act, 1997) to regulate OTTs.


Amazon plans to launch its video channels service in the Indian market. The service offers paid monthly subscriptions to various international premium TV channels and streaming channels.

The service launched in the US in 2015, Germany and the UK in 2017 and Japan in 2018 and is now one of the largest online marketplaces for video subscriptions. Some of the channels that are part of Prime Video Channels include HBO, Showtime, CBS, Cinemax, Eurosport and Starz.

Prime Video Channels are available as individual subscriptions with no need to buy a big channel bundle and anytime cancellation. All Prime Video Channels are available via the existing Prime Video app.

Amazon is in the process of hiring an India head for the service, based in Mumbai.


Distribution Platform Operators (DPOs) like Dish TV India and GTPL Hathway have asked TRAI to widen the ambit of the consultation paper on regulating Over The Top (OTT) communication services.

Dish TV pointed out that the channel broadcasters are now directly delivering their content to consumers, via the internet, completely bypassing their broadcast license terms. Further, these broadcasters are operating as 'Broadcaster' as well as 'distributor of televisions channels' via the internet. This is prohibited for satellite delivery.

GTPL Hathway submitted that the authority should issue a wider consultation paper that includes video streaming services and their impact on the DPOs. Also, satellite Pay channels are being delivered free on OTT & streaming platforms on the internet, creating a non-level playing field.


OTT platform Eros Now, has entered into a platform & content association with BSNL, to deliver on-demand entertainment to BSNL consumers. This will provide Eros Now, a reach into rural India.

The OTT app offers over 11,000+ movies, music videos and more. This is the first online video platform for BSNL consumers.

Commenting on the partnership, Rishika Lulla Singh, CEO, Eros Digital, said, "As trends indicate, the OTT industry in India is expected to reach a size of $5 billion by 2023 with tier II, III and rural areas of India witnessing a sizeable increase in mobile penetration and data consumption."

Anupam Shrivastava, Chairman and Managing Director, BSNL informed that keeping up to the commitment of offering great service at affordable price to BSNL subscribers, BSNL has taken this initiative of offering unlimited free viewing of video content on the Eros Now app. This service will be made available to BSNL subscribers by end of January 2019.


Doordarshan plans to develop and launch its own OTT (Over-The-Top) platform.

"OTT is an important platform. Doordarshan is also planning to have its own digital platform where it can put out its content which can be available worldwide. CEOs of Prasar Bharati and Doordarshan are working on a project to evolve an online platform for the viewers," Supriya Sahu, Director General, Doordarshan, told the press.

"We have a huge library of content. Some of our content is iconic. So we are trying to see if that kind of platform can be developed for us to utilise it," Sahu added.

Her comment comes amidst news that Doordarshan is in talks with other OTT platforms to take its content to a larger audience.


The Department of Science and Technology & Doordarshan have 'India Science' - an Internet-based channel. India Science is available 24x7 on any internetenabled device ( and will offer live, scheduled play and video-on-demand services.

DD also launched a 1-hour program block on the National channel called "DD Science". It will be telecast Monday to Saturday from 5 pm to 6 pm. The long-term plan is to create a 24x7 DD Science satellite channel.

Both - India Science & DD Science have been conceived and supported by the Department of Science & Technology and are being implemented and managed by Vigyan Prasar.


Hinduja Ventures Ltd (HVL) owned Oneott Intertainment Limited (OIL) has turned profitable in FY18 with a net profit of ₹ 2.23 crore compared to a net loss of ₹ 7.9 crore in FY17.

EBITDA jumped to ₹ 1.82 crore from ₹ 40 lakh in FY17. Revenue doubled to ₹ 34 crore.

OIL, provides broadband services to retail customers, enterprise customers and Optical Fiber leasing services to IMCL and other network operators. It claims almost 110,000 broadband subscribers till November 2018, in Mumbai, Bangalore, Nagpur, Aurangabad, and Delhi.

In June 2018, OIL launched its GPON service in Mumbai & Delhi, delivering high speed FTTH services. It has launched an OTT device in Mumbai.

In 2016, IMCL separated its broadband operations & transferred them to OIL.


Responding to TRAI's consultation on OTT regulations, Prasar Bharati has suggested that all Doordarshan channels must be compulsorily carried on all Indian OTT platforms. This should be done to bring OTT on par with norms applicable to broadcasting. Prasar Bharati has also suggested that OTT platforms must be made to adhere to basic regulatory & legal conditions which currently exist for TV broadcasters.

Further, these rules must also be applicable not only for live telecasts but also for any time shifted and On- Demand content.

For news, the public broadcaster feels the need for regulation, particularly in view of the rising incidences of fake news and mischievous reporting. OTT providers should be made accountable and responsible especially if some content could be deemed to be 'against national security.'

The system of audience measurement established for linear TV, should also be applicable when these channels are shown live on OTT platforms.


Vietnam's communist government has passed a law that requires local internet companies to remove 'toxic' content, deemed to be against the state.

The move has been condemned internationally as "a totalitarian model of information control."

Tech giants such as Facebook and Google will also have to hand over user data if asked by the government, and open representative offices in Vietnam, within 12 months.

The law also bans internet users in Vietnam from spreading information deemed to be anti-state, antigovernment or use the internet to distort history and "post false information that could cause confusion and damage to socio-economic activities".


Indian internet users are crying foul over Reliance Jio's apparent efforts to block proxy and VPN websites.

According to a press report, JIO users are unable to access VPN websites like, vpnbook etc.


GTPL Hathway had written to the government to surrender of its Category A Unified ISP Licence, while continuing to operate its category B licence it had obtained before it received its Category A license.

However, the government contended that on the grant of the new Category A licence, the earlier Category B licence stood cancelled.

GTPL Hathway approached TDSAT saying it was concerned that if the govt accepted its request to cancel the Category A license, it may not be permitted to operate its category B either.

The TDSAT has directed the government to maintain status quo, till the next hearing.

GTPL Hathway's broadband revenue has remained flat at ₹ 35.8 crore in Q2 FY19 compared to a year ago. During Q2, the company had added 270,000 homes passed but only 14,000 broadband subs. Total homes passed stood at 1.8 million.

It had 304,000 broadband subs, of which 30,000 are FTTX subscribers. The Broadband Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) during Q2 FY19 was ₹ 450.


The Delhi high court held that TRAI must disclose, under the provisions of the RTI Act, information to a citizen whether his phone was under surveillance by Vodafone, "a private telephone services provider" on orders of the government.

Justice Suresh Kait held that TRAI, the regulatory authority & a public authority under the RTI Act, could not prohibit the disclosure of such information.

TRAI has challenged the single bench ruling before a division bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V.K. Rao that phone tapping was carried out by law enforcement agencies and this information cannot be accessed by it from the service providers.

Moreover, accessing such information and then disclosing it to the public would imperil national security, TRAI has contended.


SITI Networks Limited has launched its 'My SITI' mobile app for its customers.

The My SITI app provides a convenient way for SITI's subscribers to select channels / bouquets / packages, make payment, and share feedback through a very simple and intuitive interface on their android mobile phones.

Siti Networks has 12 digital Headends, serving TV viewers throughout India.


With wireless telcos promising faster downloads via 5G, the pressure has been on wired Cable & Broadband networks to increase their broadband speeds.

At CES 2019, the Cable TV industry announced 10G DOCSIS Cable Modems.

10G has not just been chosen as a number double that of 5G. The 10G Cable Modems will deliver, 10 Gigabit speed in both directions, upload & download.

The Full Duplex standards have already been developed and codified by industry technology consortium CableLabs. Field trials will begin in 2020.

The U.S. cable industry not yet fully deployed DOCSIS 3.1 cable modems that deliver 1 Gigabit services & actual customer uptake is still too low to disclose any numbers.