MUMBAI: Grant Investrade, which is a 100 per cent subsidiary of Hinduja Ventures, today paid the Rs 10 crore licence fee to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB). The group is now awaiting the MIB's letter of intent to apply for the WPC clearance.
With this, the $100 million HITS Hinduja project will start rolling out. "We made the payment today. We are eagerly waiting for the letter of intent by the MIB to proceed with the next step," informs IMCL MD & group CEO Tony D'silva exclusively to indiantelevision.com.
Following this, the company will also make the Rs 40 crore bank guarantee deposit. “We will now move towards signing agreements with the satellite provider and finalising site location,” adds D’silva.
The next 10 days are going to be very busy for D’silva, who is at the helm of the HITS project. The company will start with the promotional activities, discussions with the last mile owners, creation of organisational structure, appointment of distributors and discussions with vendors in the next one week or so.
“The HITS project will be up and running in the next six months,” he informs.
While the HITS licence was obtained on 6 March, what took the company so long to pay the licence fee? Answers D’silva, “When we got the permission, immediately the elections dates were announced, so we lost time on that. Also we weren’t clear whether the government was committed to phase III and IV. Now since we have enough clarity, we decided to go ahead with the first step of paying the licence fee.”
Through HITS, the company is looking at capturing 15-20 per cent of the 120 million households in phase III and phase IV markets. While the technology team is already in place, the others will be appointed soon.
D’silva hopes to be able to create better packages for the HITS platform. “Broadcasters should consider re-pricing their channels. The packaging and bundling of channels needs to be different for phase III and IV. With phase I and II contributing to 75 per cent or more of their existing revenues that is from 30 million homes, phase III and IV which has close to 100 million homes, the broadcasters should reduce their rates to one-third of the existing rates,” he opines.
Apart from HITS, the group’s IndusInd Media and Communications Limited (IMCL) will also see a major boost in terms of the number of channels the MSO currently provides. “We will be increasing the number of channel offering from the current 350 to 500. This will help us become more competitive on ground,” he says.
IMCL in the next one or one and a half months will also launch a prepaid model for its subscribers. “We are talking to other MSOs in Mumbai and the Maharashtra Cable Operators Federation (MCOF) for this. I am hoping that all the other MSOs across the country will also join us for the prepaid model,” says D’silva.
The HITS model will have a complete different vertical which will cater to all the content and video on demand (VOD) services requirements. “The services will be made available to all the LMOs along with IMCL,” concludes D’silva.