Reliance Jio’s investment in Hathway is good for overall industry: Vynsley Fernandes, IMCL

The newly appointed CEO speaks on his experience with IMCL, cable and television industry and their future projects.

e4m by Sonam Saini
Updated: Oct 24, 2018 8:37 AM

Vynsley Fernandes, who has been recently appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of IndusInd Media & Communications Limited (IMCL), is a veteran media executive with over 25 years of experience in delivering and managing assignments globally, including DTH and HITS platforms, digital cable networks and news and entertainment channels.

IMCL is a subsidiary of Hinduja Ventures Ltd (HVL) which operates across three segments – media and communication, real estate, and treasury and investments. InDigital and NXT Digital are two leading digital distribution platforms owned by IMCL

Fernandes speaks to exchange4media about his experience with IMCL, cable and television industry and their future projects.  

On joining IMCL

IMCL is one of the strongest teams and one of the best platforms. I may have joined them in August 2018, but I have been associated with the group since 2014, helping them with designing and rolling out services. The commitment of the group towards the business and always ensuring the best of technology is very high. Therefore, for me, it has been an easy transition. It has been an overall comfortable working relationship with the Hinduja Group and IMCL which is our broadband services.  

Subscriber base of IMCL

We have two products under IMCL and we are the only integrated digital platform in India today. We are the only company which has digital cable namely Indigital. We are the only ones to have satellite delivery headend in the sky and have service called HITs NXT Digital. We have got cable, satellite and broadband. No one else in the country is offering these three services in a single offering. As far as subscriber base is concerned, we are just shy of the 5 million mark in terms of households. IMCL is the only company in the field which is prepaid, and so these numbers are not estimates but an accurate subscriber number.

Q2 Performance

Q2 has been good for the company. But when we talk about growth, there are two levels. In major cities, I think penetration is by and large complete. So growth in major cities is now in DAS I. The growth is vertical; it is how you push up ARPU. Pushing up ARPU happens through increasing the number of channels and growth of broadband. ARPU has always been the relevant factor in the market where penetration is already completed and that's our revenue driver in the city. We continue to grow month on month in satellite footprint.

Reliance Jio’s merger with Hathway

Any investment in the cable sector is good for the overall industry. There were not many investments happening in the cable TV sector like it was happening in the DTH sector. Hence, overall it is good for the industry because this industry is getting proper leverage and its proper due. In terms of how it will pan out, I can say that the philosophy of all MSOs is that the “last mile” is owned by the last mile operator (LMO) or digital service provider because they are the ones who take the wire into the consumer’s home. As far as the revenue sharing scheme is concerned, only time will tell how it will change.

Deal with broadcasters

There will always be some disputes with broadcasters. Having said that, our deals are absolutely up to date. There are some regulations on which negotiations are going on with broadcasters. We engaged with everyone and I don't think there are any difference between us and any broadcaster. We are seeing a lot of broadcasters supporting us because of NXT Digital success story. Now we have a measurable delivery mechanism for rural India, something that never existed before. And that is becoming a key driver for the big four television networks.

Offerings from IMCL

IMCL is launching a new series of next-generation STBs to suit every consumer’s requirement at every price-point. They have STBs ranging from basic SD & HD zappers and entry-level HD hybrid to advanced hybrid and 4K android and OTT devices. The network plans to launch mobile 'on-the-go' service, exclusively for existing InDigital customers. Along with that, 22 premium ad-free channels have been launched under the 'NXT Services' brand in partnership with One Take Media & Shemaroo Entertainment. Premium channel bouquet covers all genres and multiple languages.

Along with ONE Fiber, a group company, InDigital offers up to 1gbps fibre-to-the-home connectivity. ONE Fiber has also launched its OTT device and service to complement InDigital’s enhanced channel offerings with a high-end service. InDigital will also expand the television & broadband combo offerings to other cities in the next four weeks.

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