While MTNL and other players are gearing up to launch IPTV services in India, a relatively unknown company, India Broadcast Live (IBL), has gone ahead and launched what is being touted as the first Indian IPTV platform, targeting the 40 million People of Indian Origin (PIOs) living outside India.
With its unique subscription based delivery platform, which does not require any set top box (STB), the television channels can be accessed on the website www.IndiaTVLive.com on monthly or annual subscriptions.
At present, the company has only six channels on its platform – DD News, 7 Star Care, ATN Bangla, NE TV, NE Hi Fi and PIO TV. PIO TV is an in-house infotainment channel of the company. IBL has invested more than $1 million on PIO TV. The company is partly funded by Archer, an US based media and entertainment company.
“We have given a unique platform to the Indian broadcasters to reach out to the vast Indian Diaspora living all over the world. In foreign countries, one can access the channels through DSL connection, on any WiFi device and even on mobile phones. We are looking at one lakh subscriptions by the end of the year,” said Munish Gupta, President, IBL and COO, Archer India.
“At present, we charge $2.99 per month per channel. But we have a tiered structure of subscription rates, so the more the number of channels one subscribes, the less is the subscription rate,” Gupta added.
“Though we have started with only six channels, we are in talks with all the major channels in India. By the end of the year we are hopeful of having 40 channels on our platform,” Gupta further said.
Speaking about the revenue sharing model with the broadcasters, Gupta said, “We are downlinking and streaming the channels on web at our own cost. We will be sharing 50 per cent of our subscription and ad revenue with the channels on our platform.”
Though the company is not looking at the Indian market in a big way at present, it is keenly following the developments here. Gupta disclaimed that it was lack of clarity in the IPTV policy which was prohibiting its launch in India. “It is the dearth in the availability of enough bandwidth and a large number of consumers which is prohibiting launch of IPTV in India,” he insisted.
The company first downlinks the live TV signal in India, processes it, creates live stream, which then is sent to the US via Internet to be streamed across the world.
At present, the company has offices at Delhi, Brussels, Los Angeles and London. “We are looking for expansion of our Delhi office for the production activity of PIO TV,” informed Abhesh Verma, CEO, IBL, who is also the founder and CEO of Smashits.com.