Telecom service provider Bharti Airtel is looking at convergence of its mobile, telemedia and enterprise services to work out newer revenue generating streams.
At the launch of its direct-to-home (DTH) services in Kolkata today, N Arjun, executive director of Bharti DTH services, told Business Standard, “We are looking at convergence of our various businesses. For instance, we are looking at rolling out IPTV in six metropolitan cities soon and is currently test-marketing IPTV in over 1,000 households in Delhi NCR. Currently, IPTV uses separate set-top box and remote. Post the roll-out of IPTV, we would look at convergence of the set-top boxes and remote controls of IPTV and DTH services.”
“We will also look at more such combo offers, where the entire gamut of Bharti’s mobile and telemedia services could be offered at a discounted rate but as a combo pack. This will also work as our differentiation strategy in the face of competition and will help us break-even faster than the average time taken by other players in the market,” Arjun added.
“Also, we will look at leveraging our various platforms for content sharing, which will also become newer revenue generating streams for us,” added Atul Bindal, president, Bharti’s telemedia services.
“For instance, if a consumer likes a song on our DTH or IPTV platform, the same song can be downloaded for a cost on the Airtel mobile phones. Similarly, games could also be downloaded on mobile, after selecting them from our DTH services,” explained Bindal.
Bharti, however, will source content from other media or entertainment companies as it does not intend to become a content provider itself.
Bharti’s IPTV services will be launched in the six metropolitan cities in a phased manner where its broadband penetration is higher. Currently, Airtel’s broadband services are available in 94 cities in India.
“Our broadband services offers 8-16 mbps in key metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Hyderabad. IPTV requires that kind of speed to support the service and therefore the IPTV roll-out will be limited to metropolitan cities where broadband network is higher,” added Arjun.
Bharti will also introduce personal video recorder (PVR) services under its DTH arm by March next year. PVR is expected to enhance the DTH viewing experience by providing multiple facilities like simultaneous recording of television shows while watching another show, options of storing your favourite music, pictures or videos on it and enabling near-high definition viewing experience among others, informed Arjun without divulging pricing strategies.
Currently, the DTH market is estimated to have about 7.5 million subscribers with Dish TV commanding nearly 56 per cent market share.
6 months ago