WWIL to feel Rs 1 bn pinch from HITS

MUMBAI: Wire and Wireless (India) Ltd. has suffered a loss of around Rs 1 billion from its Headend-In-The-Sky (HITS) operations and has suspended the service from 1 April as the government is yet to come out with tariff and content guidelines for the new delivery technology.

WWIL, the first and the only cable TV operator to have launched the service, has invested over Rs 1.5 billion towards HITS.
"We will revive HITS after the guidelines are in place and it is favourable for the industry. We would be losing about Rs 650 million in FY‘10 from the HITS operations. Our total loss on HITS would be Rs 1 billion," a source said.

WWIL, hoping to get a nationwide footprint through HITS, had purchased 600000 set-top boxes but could manage to deploy around 110000 of them.

The multi-system operator, controlled by the Essel Group, expects losses for the fiscal ended 31 March 2010 to be around Rs 250 million, a lower amount than the losses from HITS, as analogue cable has turned profitable for it.
Revenue could close under Rs 3 billion, primarly led by carriage fee paid by broadcasters. "The carriage fee will account for 50-55 per cent of our total revenues in FY‘10," the source said.

WWIL has already received Rs 2.2 billion from its proposed Rs 4.5 billion rights issue.

The focus this year will be to expand the analogue business."We plan to revive in Hyderabad and expand in Bhubaneswar and West Bengal. We will revive our acquisitions drive," the source said.

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