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Walt Disney launches Disney Junior
The Walt Disney Company has launched its fourth channel in India, Disney Junior. The other channels from the Disney stable include Disney Channel, Hungama and Disney XD. Disney Junior is an extension of the company’s preschool program on the Disney Channel, and has been branded as Disney Junior. The new channel will be free of ads and will only focus on subscriptions. Its initial run will be limited to eight major Indian cities.1
Star to enter Bengali movie channel space with Jalsha Movies
Star India launched its new Bengali movie channel, Jalsha Movies, on 16 December 2012. This is a free-to-air channel currently, but will eventually become a pay channel. Star has also finalized an exclusive five-year deal with a leading production house to source the latest movies.2
NDTV to distribute two international channels in India
NDTV has signed a profit-sharing distribution deal with two international channels — Trace Sports, a French sports lifestyle channel, and ITV Granada, an English general entertainment channel (GEC). The deal is reportedly a multi-year one for more than five years. Both the channels will be initially offered free of cost for around six months to allow consumers to sample their content.3
Viacom18 launches Nick Junior in India
Viacom18 has launched its preschool channel, Nick Junior, on 11 December 2012. It is being positioned as an edutainment channel with two slots — Nick Junior, which will be aired from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily and will be targeted at children in the age group of two to six years and their mothers, and Teen Nick after 7 p.m. daily, which will be targeted at teenagers. Nick Junior will be a pay channel and will only be available on DTH and digital cable platforms.4
HBO Asia and Eros to launch two ad-free movie channels
HBO Asia has partnered with Bollywood movie production major Eros International to launch two premium ad-free channels in the Indian pay TV market. The channels, HBO Defined and HBO Hits, are together priced at INR100 and will be launched in the first quarter of 2013. Both will air premium Bollywood and Hollywood movies.5
Tata Sky plans annual equity infusion over medium term
Tata Sky plans equity infusion of INR5 billion every year over the medium term, to meet its capital expenditure and pay its debts. This additional equity will be raised from non-promoters and is expected to result in promoters’ equity getting gradually diluted from 60% currently. However, Tata Sons will continue to be the single largest shareholder in the company.6
Videocon d2H to raise INR7 billion through IPO
Videocon’s direct-to-home (DTH) arm, Bharat Business Channel Ltd., which operates under the Videocon d2H brand, is planning to raise INR7 billion through an initial public offering (IPO). The company is also looking at raising INR500 million through a pre-IPO placement of its shares to institutional investors.7
Hathway to invest INR3 billion in phase II of digitization
Hathway plans to invest INR3 billion in the second phase of digitization. It estimates a requirement of 3.5 million set-top boxes for its consumers and has already deployed 1.5 million of these in the cities that will undergo digitization in the second phase. Hathway does not plan to dilute its equity and seeks to fund its second phase of digitization through a mix of debt and vendor financing. The company estimates that almost 70% of the investment will be sourced through vendor financing.8
Hinduja Group to launch HITS platform
The Hinduja Group plans to launch a Headend-In-The-Sky (HITS) platform for small cable TV operators to offer digital services. The group’s business will be held under Grant Investrade, which holds a 6% stake in IndusInd Media and Communications Limited (IMCL). Grant Investrade is the investment arm of the Hindujas. The company has applied for a HITS license and expects a significant demand for the service from small operators in the towns that are to be covered under the third and fourth phases of digitization.9
TRAI to check monopolies in cable distribution
The Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry has instructed TRAI to check the incidence of monopolies in cable distribution. With states implementing digitization, the Government seeks to ensure that no MSO has a monopoly in any state. TRAI has been assigned the task of ensuring that there are no monopolies at the local, state or regional levels.10
Government to earn INR50 billion annually from digitization
The Government expects to earn around INR50 billion annually with the conversion of almost 90 million homes from analogue to digital cable ones. This is expected to result in a 10-fold increase from its earlier earnings, which was around INR5–INR6 billion. Till now, low tax collections by the Government have been primarily due to local cable operators under-declaring their subscriber bases. It is estimated that digitization will result in enhanced collections in Service Tax, Income Tax, Entertainment Tax and VAT.11
1“Walt Disney launches its 4th offering Disney Junior,” afaqs!, 20 November 2012, via Factiva.
2“Star to enter Bengali movie channel space with Jalsha Movies,” Indiantelevision, 10 December 2012, via Factiva.
3“NDTV brings two international channels to India,” afaqs!, 21 November 2012, via Factiva.
4“Viacom18’s preschool channel Nick Junior debuts in India,” Indiantelevision, 11 December 2012, via Factiva.
5“HBO Asia, Eros to launch two ad-free movie channels,” Indiantelevision, 6 December 2012, via Factiva.
6“Tata Sky to make equity infusion of INR5 billion every year over medium term,” Indiantelevision.com, 20 November 2012, via Factiva.
7“Videocon's DTH arm plans to raise INR7 billion via IPO,” Indiantelevision, 18 December 2012, via Factiva.
8“Hathway needs INR3 billion in 2nd phase; no plans to dilute equity,” Indiantelevision.com, 22 November 2012, via Factiva.
9“Hinduja group plans HITS platform; seeks licence from I&B Ministry,” Indiantelevision.com, 28 November 2012, via Factiva.
10“TRAI asked to check prevalence of monopolies in cable sector,” The Economic Times, 19 November 2012, via Factiva.
11“Digitisation will fetch govt Rs.5k cr in tax annually,” The Financial Express, 19 November 2012, via Factiva.