Israel NDS Keen to Launch IPTV in India

Israel's NDS Group Plc, said on Monday it was keen to launch Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) in India and was looking at potential acquisitions of service providers.

US-listed NDS, a supplier of technology to digital pay-television operators and content providers, opened a sales and support operation in Mumbai on Monday. It already has a research and development centre in Bangalore that employs about 600 people. "We would like to launch IPTV in India and we are in talks with various parties," said Chairman and Chief Executive Abe Peled. "Telecom operators here have the financial wherewithal and the infrastructure needed for IPTV, which will have an increasingly important role in the fragmenting media market. There are a number of start-ups that are doing interesting work (In India) that we are aware of."

Separately, NDS said on Monday it would acquire Israel's Jungo Ltd., which develops residential gateway software, for up to $107.5 million in cash. NDS, which is majority-owned by News Corp., already supports Tata Sky, a direct-to-home satellite joint venture of the Tata group and News Corp., Hathway Cable, a cable tv distributor, and Datacom digital cable TV in India.

Other direct-to-home satellite networks in India are operated by Zee Telefilms Ltd., Sun TV Ltd. and state-owned Prasar Bharti. Reliance Communications is also scheduled to launch its network. A long-delayed conditional access pay TV system is scheduled to roll out in Mumbai, New Delhi and Kolkata by Dec. 31. Only Chennai has such a system that is operational. India is the world's third-largest cable TV market with a base of about 65 million subscribers, about 57 percent of all TV-owning homes. But average revenue per user is among the lowest in Asia, at $3.50-$4.50 a month. The $3.6 billion television industry is also very fragmented, with more than 20,000 cable operators. Still, India is set to becomeAsia's largest satellite market by 2008, its leading cable market by 2010, and the most lucrative pay TV market by 2015, research firm Media Partners Asia (MPA) has estimated.While analog is likely to remain the dominant technology over the coming decade, and cable is expected to remain the core advertising platform for TV, new technologies would help generate higher advertising and subscription revenues, MPA has said.

Published Date: Dec 05, 2006 06:38 pm | Updated Date: Dec 05, 2006 06:38 pm