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IOL Targets 28 Cities For IPTV By March 2009; A Losing Battle Against DTH And CAS?

IPTV was launched commercially in Bangalore a couple of days ago (after a soft launch on the 30th of July), and Mahendra Chouhan, Director of IOL Broadband, an IPTV content provider, disclosed that they have a deal with BSNL for launch of the services in 59 cities. [via ET] The company is targeting 7 cities this fiscal, and 21 cities in the next. That’s far too slow in my opinion, and they’re losing the plot. – the marketing blitz from DTH service providers, and the option of CAS will be hard to compete with; also the issue that IPTV is essentially wireline access, while DTH is wireless. One can argue that this is triple play – telephone, internet and tv, but that doesn’t hold much water even as a superior service when it is (in my opinion) more likely to be viewed as a TV distribution initiative. Speed to market here is critical, because the installation cost of DTH, CAS and IPTV will serve as a lock-in.

So far, IPTV services have been been launched in Pune, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata, and in Delhi by MTNL. If anyone reading this has tried out IPTV, do let us know what it’s like. BSNL CMD Kuldeep Goyal says that the company has a broadband subscriber base of 10 lakh, and is looking to add 6 million subs a year. The ET story starts off with the line “With the broadband penetration gaining momentum”…Whoa! When did that happen?

Meanwhile, Multi Service Operators and Cable operators are using the launch of IPTV as a means to seek an increase in the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) limit. FDI in cable distribution is at 49 percent, while in Telecom, it’s 74 percent. The other issue is of content – Cable and DTH can only offer channels that have a downlink license, while that’s not the case with IPTV. More here.

5 Responses to “IOL Targets 28 Cities For IPTV By March 2009; A Losing Battle Against DTH And CAS?”

  1. Mr. Balaji, could you please elaborate more on this IPTV in Bangalore. How much did you have to pay to get IPTV? what is your monthly charge after taxes?is the quality of transmission DVD like? and which Eng channels do you get? do you get all the eng movie channels?what abt the sports channels? the Music ones? and do you get NDTV, CNNIBN and Times Now? i dont see the point in getting IPTV currently if these channels are missing? there seems to be no website where one could get all this info. Does your IPTV provinde only TV, or does it come with internet too? and what is the speed of the internet ….if comes bundled along that is. are there any download restricitons on the internet? how is their after sales service like? if you have had any experience on that front. your reply will be greatly appreciated. i must add that BSNL is doing a very poor job in marketing IPTV, there is not much info one can get about their IPTV. thanks.

  2. Dr.S.Balaji

    Yes. I have subscribed for the BSNL IPTV service over the last one month in Bangalore. Picture quality is excellent though the number of channels are very limited, 60 channels at present. Of course, all channels that we normally watch are present in this list of of channels. I was promised that more channels would be added after launch. Now that the BSNL IPTV is formally launched, I hope to watch more channels. Presently, very few movies are available for VoD but VoD features are cool.
    We are located about 2KM from the telephone exchange. We get, by and large, trouble-free services. I observe occational breaks for a fraction of second but continues as usual after such breaks. This must be a small glitch that can be rectified. Considering the wealth of content possible through IPTV and the technical issues associated with DTH and cable , barring the bottlenecks of regulations and conformances, I should say IOL is fighting a 'winning battle'.

  3. MobStir

    The speed of rollout has to be much faster if IPTV wants to be a force to reckon with in India. Over the next 12 months, the total number of TV channels in India will touch 400. Niether analog cable nor DTH will be in a position to carry all these channels. These channels will need to be seen to survive and while many of them will pay for shelf space, they will be happy to provide them to aggregators for free if they can guarantee delivery to viewers homes.

    IPTV as a digital service is probably the only one that can do this. Couple this with the fact that the wires are already in the ground and all the way upto the consumers home, the press doesnt have a clue on the coup these guys have pulled off. However, they need to aggregate as many channels as they can and over the next 12 months and start service. Dont waste time waiting for the big guys (Zee, STAR, Sun) just sign on all the small guys and launch the service. Once you have volumes the big guys will come on their own….