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IndusInd Media plans pay-television
Raksha Hegde in Mumbai - Monday, September 18, 2000

IndusInd Media and Communications, the multi system operator of the Hinduja group, has appointed US-based consultancy firm, Booze Allen & Hamilton, to implement a strategic plan for provision of pay-television over its network.

The company has identified a large potential market in India and is willing to pay the fees for the pay-television service through the market research commissioned by Booze Allen & Hamilton, said company officials.

For IndusInd Media, the pay-television project offers both increased subscriber addressability and expansion potential.

The blue-print for the project involves, the company's franchisee cable television operators, to be responsible for marketing, cash collection and customer support. IndusInd Media will be responsible for programming.

As part of this project, the company has entered into a strategic alliance with Intel, for developing pay television and Internet platforms. The Internet platform will provide a range of interactive television and Internet-over-television services.

IndusInd Media had recently offloaded 3.3 per cent of its equity to Intel at $49.23 million. The company's services are broadband, Internet-over-televison sets via cable and interactive television services, which include games and streaming video. It has recently begun offering Video Home Shopping service in parts of Mumbai.

IndusInd Media has been looking for tie-ups with content providers and has already signed a carriage licensing agreement with Singapore-based channel, Channel NewsAsia, for distributing the channel in India. The channel is into interactive television, an area which IndusInd Media also wants to enter.

Hinduja Finance Corporation, the holding company for the group's initiatives, holds 62.07 per cent in IndusInd Media., another Hinduja group company, has been set up solely for offering broadband Internet services, and it will utilise IndusInd cable network for carriage fees to deliver the broadband. IndusInd would also negotiate with other cable operators to allow IN2Cable to extend its services onto other networks.