February 2017


Tony D'silva - MD & CEO of IMCL, has quit. "I have decided not to renew my contract (with IMCL) as I wanted to take a break," he said.

Tony D'silva is an industry veteran with more than 20 years-experience that includes MEN-ESPN, Zee, Star India, Sun Direct (DTH) & Videocon d2h.

At IMCL, he was instrumental in the roll out of the Hinduja-promoted HITS project NXT Digital.

Mr. Ashok Mansukhani, a wholetime Director of Hinduja Ventures Limited ( HVL), the holding company of the Hinduja Group's media companies, will take-over from Mr. Tony D'Silva.

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The Cable TV Show 2017 was held at the Netaji Indoor Stadium, Kolkata from 4 to 6 January 2017. Organised by the Cable TV Equipment Traders & Manufacturers Association (CTMA), the event was inaugurated by Chief Guest, Janab Firhad Hakim, Minister-in-Charge of Municipal Affairs, in the presence of Guestof- Honour, Sri Aroop Biswas, Minister-in-Charge, Housing & Youth Affairs, Government of West Bengal. Many participants from the neighbouring countries also participated in the show.

The CATV SHOW 2017 organizers also hosted a cultural programme and dinner on the side-lines of the event at a star hotel in the city.

The Minister announced that Kolkata would initiate underground cable laying in a big way thus opening up for infrastructure development and augmentation. An estimated 10,000 people from CATV sector attended the trade show. The event was also widely covered in the print, online and television media.

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The Bangladesh High Court has rejected a writ petition that sought ban on the broadcast of the Star Plus , Zee Bangla and Star Jalsha in the country.

The petitioner - Syeda Shahin Ara Laily, a Bangladesh Supreme Court lawyer, said she would appeal before the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court against the HC verdict.

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According to press reports, Kaustuv Ray is likely to be backed by a UK-based investor, Delamore and Owl Group, plans to take over the Sahara News channels. In 2009, Kaustuv Ray took over Bengali news channel Kolkata TV, with the blessings of the Trinamool Congress, when its owners abandoned the channel. The littleknown group claims on its website that it is invested in diverse businesses in over 30 countries.

The deal envisages Delamore and Owl infusing about Rs. 30 Crores over the next 5 years, to revive the channels.

Ray and the London-based investor will secure "irrevocable right to a significant stake in the news channels."

there cannot be an immediate sale because of restrictions imposed by the Supreme Court on asset sales by Sahara India Commercial Corp.

For now Ray will be given management control of the news channels for at least 5 years, according to the report. Apparently, Ray's Kolkata TV and the Sahara network have started to share content.

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In his letter dated Friday, 13 Jan 2017, Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy has written a letter to the MIB against granting license to Arnab Goswami's proposed TV news channel 'Republic'.

Swamy points out that the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950 bars anyone from using the term 'Republic' for professional and commercial purposes. Specifically, the word 'Republic' has been prohibited under item 6 of the schedule accompanying the statute.

Besides Asianet's Chandrasekhar, other investors in the venture include DEN Networks promoter Sameer Manchanda, Aarin Capital Partners' Ranjan Ramdas Pai, Veteran investment banker Hemendra Kothari, Asian Heart Institute's Ramakanta Panda, TVS Tyres' R Naresh and Shobhana Ramachandhran, and Renaissance Jewellery owner Niranjan Shah.

Pai has invested Rs. 7.5 crore in SARG while Panda has put in Rs. 5 crore in the company. Kothari's investment in the company has been Rs. 2.5 crore. Manchanda, along with Sanjeev Manchanda and Tapesh Virendra Singhi, has invested over Rs. 2.5 crore in SARG, cumulatively.

SARG Media, which is the main investor in ARG Outlier, has invested Rs. 26 crore in the company so far.

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The I&B Ministry has reminded 78 TV channels that are yet to provide equipment to the Electronic Media Monitoring Centre (EMMC) for monitoring of content. The channels have been instructed to immediately send their IRDs to the EMMC.

The original notice was sent out on 9 December 2016 to 194 TV channels, requiring submission of equipment along with technical parameters such as satellite, frequency and location of teleport, by 31 Dec 2016.

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Hathway Cable & Datacom CEO (Video Business) - TS Panesar was unanimously elected as the new President of the All India Digital Cable Federation (AIDCF), the apex body of digital cable TV operators. Siti Networks CEO VD Vadhwa was the president for the past 2 years, since the Federation was established.

Siti Networks COO Anil Malhotra is now VP and Fastway Transmissions CEO Peeush Mahajan is the treasurer of the federation.

AIDCF secretary general Saharsh Damani said, "With digitisation entering into last phase and focus on wired broadband gaining traction for all the members, I am sure that under Panesar" leadership, the digital cable industry will enter into the next orbit of momentum and growth

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Demonetisation has impacted DTH operator Airtel Digital TV as well. The October-December quarter has seen the slowest subscriber growth for the DTH platform, since the last 5 quarters.

Airtel Digital TV added 183,000 net subscribers, thus taking its total subscriber base to 12.58 million. In the previous quarter, it had added 256,000 net subscribers, which was its highest in the last 4 years.

In the first quarter of the fiscal year, the DTH operator had 424,000 subscribers, which was again its best Q1 in the last four years. The net subscriber additions in Q3 and Q4 of FY16 were 619,000 and 530,000, respectively.

More subscribers also left the platform - Monthly churn was 1.3% compared to 1.2% in Q2.

Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) remained unchanged at Rs. 232.

Airtel Digital TV offers 535 channels including 55 HD channels, & 5 interactive services.

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) USA, regulates Cable TV, DTH, radio, TV, phone, internet & spectrum usage.

President Donald Trump has appointed Ajit Pai to head the powerful US communications regulatory agency, becoming the third Indian American picked for key positions in his administration. Pai, 44, will be the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the federal authority regulating cellphone spectrum and services, radio, television, phone, internet and satellite and cable. Pai said "It is a deeply humbling honor" & he would work to bring the benefits of the digital age to all Americans.

Prior to his appointment to the FCC in 2012, Pai has worked as a lawyer for telco Verizon, the Senate Judicial Committee and the Justice Department. Pai's parents, both doctors, emigrated from India.

Pai staunchly opposes net neutrality, and will undo all net neutrality moves made by his predecessor. This will permit ISPs to provide special preferences to certain web sites or accept carriage fees from a web service to give it priority or better access.

Pai has also been instructed to cancel the earlier move to force Cable TV companies to sell STBs to their csutomers, rather than sell them. All of Trumps moves will favour industries and companies to make larger profits.

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Star India plans to launch a premium HD Hindi movie channel - 'Star Gold Select HD'.

Surprisingly, this will be Star India's first Hindi Movie pay channel. Star Utsav Movies is a FTA channel also available in Doordarshan's FreeDish.

The pay channel will be priced at Rs. 25 on Reference Interconnection Offer (RIO) basis.

Star currently operates 3 channels under its premium 'Select' banner. Star Movies Select HD was launched in July 2015 and is priced at Rs. 25.

In 2016, Star Sports Select HD1 and HD2 were launched. They are offered free to DPOs (Digital Platform Operators) till end July 2017. Subsequently they will charge Rs. 35 each.

Star operates 26 HD channels & sees HD as a big driver of pay revenues. In 2015, Star India CEO Uday Shankar has projected Star's HD subscriber base to reach 25 to 40 million in the next 3 to 5 years from 3 million that it had at that time.

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On 24 Jan, Hyderabad High Court bench of Acting Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan & Justice Shameem Akther directed the Union of India to respond to the Public Interest Litigation filed against the coercive manner in which the authorities were forcing digital cable TV transmission of programs even in small towns in Andhra Pradesh & Telangana.

The bench was dealing with a case filed by Citizens Welfare Society of Hyderabad. The court was told that though the Act made digital transmission compulsory, the explanation said it was optional. Meanwhile, citizens were being coerced. Government officers were threatening that after February 1, television sets without set top boxes would not receive signals. The bench directed the Union of India to clarify the issue and posted the case to January 31.

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