LMOs central to INCableNet's CAS plan: Vyas

MUMBAI: The Hinduja group owned multi system operator (MSO) INCableNet has based its entire conditional access system business model on the last mile operator (LMO). INCableNet officials also reiterated that the LMO will benefit from additional revenue streams in the post CAS scenario.

While speaking to, INCableNet COO Rajiv Vyas says: "We have already shared the drafts of our agreements with the distributors. The final draft will be finalised in close consultations with the distributors and LMOs. However, our efforts to introduce transparency into the MSO-LMO deals has reached a dead end because broadcasters haven't declared their prices as yet."

When questioned about commissions and incentives to be offered to the LMOs, Vyas offers: "First the broadcasters have to specify the prices of their individual pay channels and bouquets in writing rather than verbally talking about them. The deals involving the LMOs will depend on the seeding. The commissions will vary from channel to channel depending on the 'push' or 'pull' factor of the channel. It will be structured in such a way that the ground staff will be inclined to aggressively promote the pay channel and sell it to the viewers."

When questioned whether LMOs will get an equal share of the commissions shared by broadcasters with MSOs, Vyas says: "Part of the revenues will be deployed into marketing efforts such as creation of value-added packages for the viewers. We have created consumer-friendly 'product bouquets' that will include a mix of STB rentals coupled with FTA and pay channels."

It is expected that all the MSOs will take a short term hit to build a long-term base while deploying STBs in the households.

However, Vyas adds that the fall in revenues will be offset by other opportunities. "The possibilities are endless. Pay per view will be a great revenue stream. Initially, the PPV opportunities will revolve around movie releases, sports and special events - for instance a Falguni Pathak Navratri festival. One can even have capsuled channels - for instance, the ten best innings of Sachin Tendulkar amongst others. The LMOs will definitely get their share for promoting such offerings."

INCableNet is advanced talks with channels such as MTV for their co-branded credit cards that will eventually be sold through the LMO route post CAS. "The bank will develop special coded forms that will be sold and the LMOs will get commissions if the prospects are converted," Vyas says.

Vyas points out that the marketing of cable offerings will be 'restricted' to the extent of one's imagination - but one needs to adapt them to the Indian context. "Game shows such as Housie could become a regular feature on certain channels. There is a distinct possibility that major sports events organisers might approach MSOs for one-off events."

Summing up the discussions, Vyas says: "I would say that the post-CAS scenario will be exciting in terms of value driven offerings that help to enhance viewer experience. The idea is to create a WOW experience - raise the bar for service levels to such heights that the other service provider will find it difficult to upstage us."

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