Cellcast sets shop in India; appoints Thakar as CEO

MUMBAI: In order to expand its international reach, global interactive digital broadcaster - Cellcast plc - has set shop in Mumbai. The new subsidiary company will be called Cellcast Interactive India Pvt Ltd.

The Indian subsidiary will be headed by Pankaj Thakar, who has over 20 years experience in the computer, telecom and wireless sectors.

Thakar said, "Indias consumers are primed for the kind of innovative participation-TV programming, which Cellcast has developed so successfully in the UK and other markets. With 85 million TV households, over 65 million mobile phone subscribers growing by 2.5 million new users every month, and a sustained rise in consumer spending power, India promises to become a leading world market for convergent entertainment services in a very short time."

The newly established subsidiary will help Cellcast address the rising demand for interactive entertainment in India. The companys programmes and technology platform will enable broadcast partners to capture new revenue streams that are independent of subscription income and advertising, and build new audiences among the highly sought-after youth demographic.

In March this year, Cellcast launched a 24 hour interactive channel called Play TV on the Zee Network in partnership with the Essel Group. Since Play TVs launch, premium rate SMS traffic has doubled month on month and the channel now broadcasts over 10 hours of live interactive programmes daily.

Commenting on the launch of Cellcast Interactive India, Cellcast plc CEO Andrew Wilson said, "We recognise the huge potential in India, and Cellcast is excited to participate in the growth of this market. The success of Play TV has shown the high demand for our interactive services, and we look forward to launching new programmes and applications to build on this success."

"Cellcast is one of the few companies with an end-to-end interactive television solution, combining state of the art technology with compelling programming within a proven business model. With experience drawn from several continents, our expertise, programme portfolio, applications and technology platform deliver a distinct advantage to our broadcast and telecom partners in this rapidly expanding sector," he added.

Cellcast Interactive India will also shortly open a Development and Technical Support Centre in Mumbai. Initially, the production and development facility will support programmes and applications distributed in the India market. Over time, the Centre is expected to play an increasing role in international product development.

Cellcasts proven business model is highly scalable, from small satellite channels to major terrestrial broadcasters, and is generating significant revenues for existing broadcast partners in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

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