Aug 21, 2008

Entertainment - ADAG to launch channels by year end

Shortly following the launch of its DTH venture under the Big TV brand, the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) plans to come up with its own bouquet of 20 television channels. Of the total, a tleast two to three are expected to go on air by the end of this year. Another four to five channels are expected to be launched by early next year. On the sidelines of the press conference, CEO, Big TV, DTH, Arun Kapoor said, "Our home channels will expand our portfolio". However, Kapoor refused to comment any further on the launch plans, saying he is not authorized to speak on the matter. The 20 channels are expected to cover all genres of channels, including the GEC space where Star Plus and Zee command more than 50% of market share at present. Around 200 plus channels are awaiting clearance from Information and Broadcasting ministry.

Reliance's DTH venture which has opted for a staggered launch across 6,400 cities in the coming 15 days is planning to leverage the pan-Indian distribution network of Reliance Communications and offer its services through 1 lakh plus outlets. Going ahead, the DTH venture also has plans to cross bundle services for its telecom customers. The new DTH entrant which is entering on an advanced compression technology, MPEG 4 that will enable it offer more channel for a given transponder capacity has an aim to capture 40% of the market share in a year's time. Currently there are 6 million plus DTH customers and three commercial players - Dish TV, Tata Sky and Sun Direct. DD Direct, the DTH arm of government doesn't operate on a commercial basis

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