Essel Group in licensing deal with OpenTV for digital TV services

MUMBAI: Essel Group has entered into a multi-year license agreement with San Franscisco-based OpenTV Corp, the provider of enabling technologies for advanced digital television services. The agreement represents OpenTV's initial entry into the Indian pay television market.

OpenTV's solutions will enable Essel Group to deliver a variety of advanced interactive television services, including PVRs (personal video recorders) and EPGs (electronic program guides) to its subscriber base. Essel Group expects to provide its interactive services first to subscribers of Dish TV.

Essel Group subsequently expects to deploy similar OpenTV-enabled services to a portion of its Siticable customer base as Sitibase converts its cable systems from analog to digital.

Essel Group additional vice chairman Jawahar Goel said, "Partnering with OpenTV will enable Dish TV to offer our growing subscriber base an exceptional television viewing experience unlike any other in the region, with multi-camera viewing, gaming, interactive channels, PVR, and push video-on-demand (PVOD). It also allows us to further accelerate Siticable's aggressive plans to provide similar compelling and interactive digital services to its cable networks in time for the Commonwealth Games in 2010. We are confident that OpenTV's track record, expertise, and premier technology will help us to achieve our goals of growing our subscribers throughout India at an accelerated rate."

"With nearly 17 per cent of the world's population, a fast-growing economy, and a middle class that has tripled in size in the last twenty years to some 300 million, the Indian market represents a tremendous opportunity for OpenTV and reinforces our strong market position in the Asia Pacific region and globally," OpenTV CEO James A Chiddix said .

"This deal also is among our first 'subscription model' arrangements, under which we are paid monthly for each active set-top box that is deployed in the field for so long as that set-top box remains in service. We believe that this business model offers us more of a recurring revenue stream and should provide us with a better opportunity to increase our revenues in line with those of our customer's growing subscriber base. We look forward to supporting Essel as they accelerate the growth of the digital television market in India and other countries in the region," he adds.

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