Television

Star ex-distribution head's company Trinity Platco stitches deal with MSO Spectranet

NEW DELHI: Former Star India distribution head Arun Mohan is back in business after keeping a low profile for over a year. And he is doing what he knows best -- distribution.

Mohan's company, AM Trinity Platco Pvt. Ltd. (where, probably AM stands for Arun Mohan), has stitched a 10-year lease management deal with Delhi's Punj family-controlled Spectranet, a multi-system operator (MSO) that also has laid fiber optics in certain parts of the city with plans to offer broadband services too.

Confirming the deal to indiantelevision.com, Mohan today said, "The total video business of Spectranet has been hived off to Trinity in a deal that envisages a long term relationship."

The deal signed entails Trinity paying a flat monthly to Spectranet fee for usage of its infrastructure. Mohan, however, did not divulge the financial details saying, "It's confidential, but we are here to do business on a long term basis."

Spectranet, which started off at a time when the dotcom boom was on and talks of broadband services were being bandied around, though is not a dominant player in Delhi's cable TV scenario. But it has a sizable number of subscribers, including a large chunk in South Delhi where CAS is being sought to be rolled out by the cable industry from 15 December, subsequent to a Delhi high court order earlier this month quashion denotification of Delhi from the CAS rollout map.

Spectranet would continue to own the network and the fibre optic network even as Trinity expands the business and uses the infrastructure. Mohan, however, did not specify whether this was a precursor to a takeover of Spectranet as the branding has already changed over to Trinity Network.

Spectranet has been open to acquisition and/or merger for some years now with the owners, the Punj family, having held several rounds of negotiations with some corporate houses (including the Tata group), which are also active in related fields like telecom and value added services in an era where convergence (of services like cable TV, fixed line telephony, data transfer, video-on-demand, etc.) is likely to take place sooner or later.

According to Mohan, the network of Trinity is getting ready to implement CAS in Delhi's south zone along with other MSOs.

Broadcast and cable industry sources indicated that if Mohan's company manages to do a successful job in Delhi, then the company and the services can expand to cities like Mumbai and position itself as an alternative option for broadcasters, especially the pay ones, having problems with the MSO having the biggest market share, the Hinduja-owned INCablenet.

But this scenario is easier said than done. The cable business in India is not any Ram, Shyam and Krishna's cup of tea. With muscle power, coupled with financial capabilities, having crept into this business a few years back (murders and threats by goons are common), getting the present franchisees of INCableNet to switch loyalty to somebody else would be a difficult task.

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