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Hinduja Venture’s HITS project to rollout by April 2015

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MUMBAI: Hinduja Ventures’ Headend in the Sky (HITS) project will soon see the light of day. While the platform will start the field testing in January-February 2015, the actual rollout will take place between March-May 2015.



“We are working as per the plan and are on schedule,” informs IMCL MD and group CEO Tony D’silva to indiantelevision.com.



The platform is in talks with several independent MSOs and LMOs.  “By the time we launch, we will have close to 8-10 million consumers being serviced through our HITS platform,” he says.



In order to gauge the interest level of the operators in the HITS project, Hinduja conducted a major research in nine states including four states from the south, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, West Bengal and others. “The study was done by an outside agency and involved close to 1000 operators,” informs D’silva who is elated with the results.



According to D’silva, the research shows that the operators are happy with the cash and carry model being offered by Hinduja’s HITS model. This apart, the study revealed that the operators are also excited about the customised packaging and bundling at a charge which is 50 per cent lower than what they would pay for this kind of setup.



While the study also shows that the operators are excited about the launch, D’silva says that he doesn’t want to launch it in a hurry. “We want to test our services and make sure that the set top boxes (STBs) are of top quality. There have been a lot of issues with the boxes all across the country and so we want to subject the STBs to all kinds of heat, cold, dust etc test,” he adds.  



The operators are also happy to do a small Annual Maintenance Contract (AMC) for the boxes, probably at the cost of Rs 5 per subscriber per month, so that replacement of STBs becomes easier.



As for the licence clearance from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, D’silva says that the process is moving smoothly. “We will get the final licence in hand only after we are ready for the rollout and pay Rs 40 crore as bank guarantee. Licence will not be an issue any more,” he says.



D’silva claims that the platform has got the best products and four vendors have been roped in to provide the STBs.  “While no indigenous STB manufacturers are currently onboard, we are still looking at them. We want MPEG4 boxes at the same commercial terms as others. But, we haven’t got any positive feedback from them as yet,” informs D’silva.  



As for the name of the platform, D’silva says that the research for the name is on. “I think, while brand name is good for us to build but at this point, HITS as a concept is more understood by the LMOs and so we do not want to confuse them at this stage,” he adds.  



No agreements will be signed between the MSO or LMO and HITS, but a MoU could be signed before the HITS project is launched. “We cannot sign an agreement before the launch, since we will get the licence only after the rollout, but we may enter into MoUs.”



The marketing campaign about the new launch will commence from middle or end of January. “We are providing a very competitive service to fight any competition, with value added services etc. We are also providing HD STBs to operators at the cost of SD boxes. We are entering the market looking at the future and not today,” signs off D’silva.

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