Videocon mulls entry into DTH market

HONG KONG: After aborted attempts to start a television channel, Indian consumer electronics major Videocon Industries Ltd now is trying to cobble together a DTH dream.

And, what?s more, the Dhoot-promoted company thinks the DTH project can be commissioned in a year?s time, which would make it some time in 2007.

?We have undertaken a project report (on DTH) and feel that the venture can be started as it has a lot of synergy with some our existing businesses,? an executive of Videocon Industries told here on the sidelines of the three-day annual convention of Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (Casbaa).

According to the company executive, if undertaken prudently, a DTH project can be put together at a cheaper cost than what has been touted till now by Tata Sky and the Subhash Chandra-controlled Dish TV, the two private sector DTH service providers in the country at present.

?The cost should not be over $ 100 million,? the executive said, pointing out that it could even be done at almost three-fourth of that cost ($ 75 million).

The synergies that Videocon Industries, manufacturers of TV sets and other consumer durables, sees in starting a DTH operation is that it already makes analog set-top boxes and has a widespread distribution network in India, which can be exploited for sale of DTH hardware.

However, industry observers are sceptical about Videocon?s claims as in the media sector the company?s track record hasn?t been much to right home about. ?That is exactly the perception we would like to change,? the Videocon executive asserted.

Videocon has twice announced plans --- the first being in the late 1990s --- to start a television channel, which have never seen the light of the day and later were taken as abandoned.

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