Big TV may charge carriage fee to augment revenue

August 20th, 2008 - 6:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Aug 20 (IANS) India’s latest direct-to-home (DTH) service provider Reliance Big TV Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Communications Ltd, may look at carriage fee as one of the revenue streams in future, said a top company official. “Currently, we are not charging the broadcasters any carriage fee. But looking forward, it could be one of the several revenue streams for Reliance Big TV,” said Mahesh Prasad, president of the company’s applications, solutions and content division at the launch of Big TV service here Tuesday.

Carriage fee is paid by television broadcasters to multi-system operators and direct-to-home (DTH) players to beam their channels on their network.

Prasad said the average revenue per user is expected to be around Rs.250-Rs.300 and when value added services are rolled out the figure will move upwards.

“Our target is to capture 40 percent of the DTH market in India,” he said.

Though financial numbers were not revealed by officials, going by the scale at which Reliance Big TV plans to operate this business - five million set top boxes have been ordered and the mega media campaign - the investment and the operating costs are expected to be significantly higher.

Company officials declined to put a time frame for the venture to break even and the cost of acquiring a customer.

“We offer over 200 channels, including 32 movie channels, which are far more than what the competition offers,” Prasad said.

The subscription rates start from Rs.1,490.

With DTH business turning into a distribution game, Big TV service is available at 100,000 retail outlets, including Reliance World and Reliance Mobile Stores across 6,500 towns.

Nearly 29,000 outlets across 1,614 South Indian towns will retail the service.

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