Hathway's HD rush; launches Fox International Channels in Bengaluru

MUMBAI: It‘s getting hot on HD. One of India‘s leading MSOs Hathway Cable & Datacom is looking at taking its HD subscriber base to 200,000 in a year‘s time and has just signed a deal to roll out Fox International Channels (FIC) HD channels into its HD packages.

The service provider has currently launched the FIC channel HD bouquet only in Bangalore initially but will be extended to Hyderabad soon and then to the rest of the country by end of the year.

Hathway currently caters to a modest HD subscriber base of approximately 25,000 nationwide (out of which most number of subscribers reside in metros).

Says Hathway CEO Jagdeesh Kumar: "We have currently launched the HD zapper box only in Bengaluru because we are using the city as a test case to gauge response. But we will soon unveil the DVR box as well in the next six to eight months."

The HD service costs Rs 4,500 and comes with a set top box (STB) with a package of 20 HD channels that excludes the recently acquired Fox International Channel (The set includes: National Geographic Channel (NGC), FOX Traveller, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Adventure, Nat Geo Music and Baby TV in HD.)

"We have plans to carry 35 HD channels," adds Kumar. "We aim to get in a bulk of the DTH subscribed audience back to cable in time to come, and we are confident of doing so as we have more bandwidth at our disposal hence giving a better picture to our subscribers. We can deliver consistent and better quality pictures and our viewers would not have to worry about interruptions in signals during torrential rains."

For Bengaluru, Kumar is pushing a promotional campaign to sign up HD subscribers early. Says he, "We are trying to keep very competitive prices and offer a good discount for early bookings. We are confident that with our superior quality and better clarity, we would be able to deliver the best for our viewers."

All the content available with FIC is being shot in HD and Ultra HD and the channel currently has close to 100 hours of content to showcase. The group banks on its prime property NGC, being the oldest channel in the cluster, to get in the viewers and to build a loyal fan base.

"We are delighted to partner with Hathway in offering a better viewing experience to our audience; our channels would be available in enhanced picture quality across Hathway‘s extensive network," says NGC Network India and Fox International Channels MD Keertan Adyanthaya. "We are currently looking at activation plans and thus do not have many advertisers on board to boast of, but we are sure that once we start getting an audience, the advertisers will follow."

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