Reliance ADA Group and Microsoft have come together for the launch of the formers’ IPTV service. The service is expected to be launched in Mumbai and Delhi initially, and will be taken forward to 30 other cities in the coming months. The company will commence its IPTV service in both the metros before March 2008.
This exclusive association with Reliance and Microsoft is estimated to be worth around $500 million and the partnership will be for a period of eight years. Reliance’s IPTV service will be powered by the Microsoft’s Mediaroom Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) software platform.
The IPTV service includes several features, such as video-on-demand (VOD), digital video recording (DVR), instant channel changing, and personal media sharing. IPTV subscribers will be able to watch both popular standard definition content and high definition content for the first time in India at the click of a button and enjoy a connected entertainment experience that would allow them to watch shows on their TVs or PCs.
Reliance is also in talks with Microsoft for three other projects that include rural broadband, initiatives towards the growing mobility market, and on the gaming side.
“As consumers today are becoming more sophisticated, they are demanding more compelling and personalised entertainment to suit their individual needs and preferences,” said Anil D Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Communications. When asked about how this launch would affect their DTH plans, Ambani observed that there was a large enough market for both the services in India.
Calling the association with Reliance unique, Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft, said, “TV is the only major digital device that has been left out of the networking revolution, and Microsoft and Reliance are now making the TV a first class citizen in the connected entertainment landscape.”
“In addition to the obvious benefit that will come to the consumers, this offering will also benefit the media industry at large,” said Ravi Venkatesan, Chairman, Microsoft India. He further said, “Whether it is the content providers, the platform owners or the advertisers, they will get better value for their money. This is critical for the long term growth and sustenance of the television industry.”
“Reliance Communications is well poised to leverage its Next-Gen optical fiber network to unleash the ‘Connected Digital Home’ phenomena,” said Prakash Bajpai, President of Home and Enterprise Business, Reliance Communications. Commenting on the price range for the service, he said that the costs would be competitive with the other players.