ETC network looking for strong revenues from teleport project

ETC Networks, the only Hindi language channel broadcaster after Jain TV to get government clearance for uplinking from India, sees the teleport facility that it will be establishing in Mumbai soon as a strong revenue source.

Jagjit Singh Kohli, one of the promoters and managing director, ETC Networks, made the point at the company's first annual general meeting in Mumbai yesterday. "This uplinking business will be the fourth stream of revenue which we are looking at," he said. At present, the income comes from advertising, selling of commercial time and from sale of programmes (which was very low for year 2000-2001). As per ETC's annual report 2000 - 2001, ad revenues stood at Rs 324 million, commercial time sale fetched 150 million and programmes sale was 1.7 million.

ETC has identified three possible locations for its teleport in and around Mumbai's western suburb of Andheri. Close to RS 18.6 million has been put aside for establishing uplinking facilities. The teleport is expected to be up and running within this financial year, and ETC is confident that it will also be generating revenue from Day 1, Neelam Gupta, head corporate communications, said.

Also proceeding on schedule was the rollout of set top boxes for the conversion of the channel from an analog feed to a digital one, the spokesperson said. Set top rollout had crossed the halfway stage, Gupta said, adding that till the process was complete the channel would be transmitting under a dual feed.

According to the annual report, the growth strategy of the channel stressed the importance of distribution rather than programming and television rating strategies. Statistics provided in the report shows that 57.3 per cent of C&S household have Black & White TV sets which can show only 11 channels, around 42 per cent of C&S TV household have TV sets which can show 16 channels and only the remaining households (0.7 per cent) have access to all 90 odd channels. So the target is to maximise available channel space. ETC claimed that it reached the prime band of 80 per cent of India's 30 million (as per the Year 2000 stats) C & S homes. The future strategy is clear. Spread the reach as deep as possible, increase the viewership by providing quality music programming (85 per cent of the channel's content comprised Indian music last year).

Talking about the vision of the company in the report, Yogesh Radhakrishnan one of the promoters of ETC Networks Ltd. says: "The management will consolidate its position across both the channels and drive advertisement rates to maximise revenue."

The channel claims leadership in the music channel segment with a market share of 31 per cent (4 plus all C & S homes) as per INTAM ratings.

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