Airtel to Launch IPTV Service

Airtel has started a trial run of it’s IPTV service in Delhi and is covering 1,000 households on a pilot basis.

We will also look at more such combo offers, where the entire gamut of Bharti’s mobile and telemedia services could be offered at a discounted rate but as a combo pack. This will also work as our differentiation strategy in the face of competition and will help us break-even faster than the average time taken by other players in the market

IPTV uses separate set-top box and remote. Post the roll-out of IPTV, we would look at convergence of the set-top boxes and remote controls of IPTV and DTH services – source

The public launch date is not yet announced, but Airtel is targeting its 2.5mn telemedia user base – and will leverage it’s already existing content platforms (DTH/mobile)

IPTV Market

As far as Indian IPTV Market is concerned, Gartner expects IPTV subscribers to cross 75K user base by 2011, has presented a gloomy picture citing following reasons for a low uptake:

  • Low broadband penetration in India.
  • Pricing : Under the pricing regulations imposed on the pay-TV industry, IPTV will effectively be priced at the same level as digital cable and DTH, resulting in ARPUs in the range of Rs300 to Rs500, as opposed to analog cable users paying Rs150 to Rs300. IPTV therefore will not be able to differentiate itself from digital cable or DTH players in terms of price.
  • The existing pay TV platforms are tightening their grip on the market and will effectively block IPTV operators from being able to capture its target group of wealthy households – source

While Airtel is launching new services, maybe it’s time for them to have a single cable for all it’s services (like Comcast?)?

What’s your take?

Industry Updates

  • MTNL has partnered with Akash Optifibre for it’s IPTV service (A-Tel) and video phone calling service V Spyk.
  • TRAI has set a five year timeframe for cable TV operators to upgrade their current analogue network to digital transmission mode in order to compete with new distribution platforms, such as IPTV and HITS, besides improving their revenue earning prospects- source
  • BSNL is launching it’s IPTV service in Himachal
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