B4U Group has finalised its international partners Europe Star and Mindport for its Direct-to-Home (DTH) venture. The proposed investment for the project is Rs 385 crore. While the three partners plan to hold 20 per cent each in the DTH project, talks are on to rope in a leading set top box manufacturer as the fourth partner.
While Europe Star is a satellite provider, Mindport is responsible for the conditional access and subscriber management system. Europe Star is an Alcatel company, a member of the Loral Global Alliance.
B4U, in its preliminary business plan, which it presented before Prasar Bharati, will initially start with a bouquet of 80 channels. The bouquet would expand to 200 channels in two years. The B4U DTH platform will try to provide the equipment including the set top box for Rs 10,000 upfront per subscriber. Customers can also pay Rs 5,000 and the balance in installments of Rs 100 per month.
According to the preliminary plan, a fee of around Rs 300 would be charged from each subscriber. The target is to have four million subscribers in four years. The company hopes to break even within two years of operation.
B4U and its DTH partners will have a revenue sharing arrangement with the channel owners who come on the platform. Channels will have to pay a minimum guarantee. The value-added services to be offered are Internet, teletext, pay per view, video on demand, interactive education, games for high end, telephony, online shopping and e-commerce.