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‘What’s on India’ plans to go mobile; attempts to break-even soon

09-June-2009
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‘What’s on India’ plans to go mobile; attempts to break-even soon

“What’s on India plans to launch the television guide channel as a natural progression of its EPG and TV guidance business,” said Atul Phadnis, CEO What’s On India. The TV guide channel which would be called ‘What’s On’ is targeted towards urban television viewers. The channel would be available for cable, DTH and IPTV users. Phadnis also said that there were plans to take the channel to mobile. He explained that the 3G India launch would only benefit and these future plans of the company.

Phadnis observed, “Mobile is being approached on two counts - firstly, the way people would interact with the television guide channel, and the way they would interact with the EPG. 3G offers us a very good way of making the channel available on the mobile, and therefore, the challenge lies in making EPG more interactive and actionable as far as the mobile is concerned.”

When asked about the slowdown’s impact on ‘What’s On India’ Phadnis said, “Slowdown is a very good opportunity for companies like us, it becomes a good opportunity for launch. Slowdown is a period where you can rationalise the costs; the ideas your get are far more appreciated and is also a time when people listen very closely to what is being said. Therefore, getting industry co-operation becomes easier.”

On how the year 2008 treated the company and their 2009 growth plans, Phadnis stated, “The year 2008 had been a fairly turbulent year -- on the one side, we were getting a lot of successes, where more operators were switching to our EPG. We even saw two of our customers launch last year - Big TV and Airtel Digital TV. The turbulent point was that we were still searching for our identity, which means that there were some of the verticals, where we couldn’t decide on whether to exit or invest further. We have exited those verticals, and our entire focus lies in TV guidance and EPG now.”

He added, “The clear focus of the company in 2009 would be to ensure the television guide channel launch is successful and that the consumers appreciate the initiatives. Secondly, the aim is to ensure that our overall understanding is strong about where our markets are moving and how increasingly digital homes are changing the choice in television. Finally, EPG is only an instrument to provide greater choice and greater tools to exercise the diverse choices with more channels movies, video on demand services on cable or DTH and instrument of tools- set top boxes etc.”

Post renaming of the company to ‘What’s On India’ from Media E2E there has been a fundamental change in terms of focus of the company. For instance, three and a half years ago when Media E2E was set up following which EPG and TV guidance also received good response even to the services deployed to cable, DTH and IPTV it later roped in venture capital funds Sequoia Capital and Nexus India, who invested an undisclosed amount in the company. They decided to refocus the entire company’s attention on television guidance and EPG as one central piece. That led to a change in name which became ‘What’s on India’.

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