STAR India is looking for partners in order to launch its direct-to-home service in India by March next year. The service is expected to be available in the price range of Rs 250 to Rs 450 per month. Talks in this regard are on with prospective partners that include several consumer electronics majors, financial institutions and merchant bankers. STAR India is also planning to set up a separate company with ISP and call centre facilities under its fold.
Apart from regular bouquet of channels, the service would include other facilities such as e-mail, interactive sports and news, TV games, pay-per-view and video-on-demand.
In keeping with present regulations of a 20 per cent sectoral cap on broadcasters and on foreign direct investment, STAR plans to have three to four strategic partners for the project. Also in the offing is raising debt from the market.
According to the industry sources, the total project cost would be in the region of $450-$500 million. While STAR being a foreign-owned company would bring in around 20 per cent of the equity, it is not averse to offering 26 per cent stake and a place in the board to the strategic partners.
STAR has recently initiated talks with consumer electronics majors BPL for manufacture of DTH hardware such as set-top box and DTH-enabled television.