By Jayant Changrani, Country Head and General Manager – India, NDS, now part of Cisco
As we near the end of the calendar year, the last part of which as a newly acquired Cisco company, we’ve reached yet another milestone in India. At the end of 2011, NDS celebrated that its solutions were enabling digital TV for over 20 million homes in India, and according to market statistics effectively 100 million viewers. Today, we are proud to announce that we are enabling digital TV for over 50% of all digital cable homes in the country.
Our work with small, medium and large operators to help transition their platforms to digital ahead of the government mandated analogue switch off (the first deadline for which just passed on 31st October), has meant that we’ve been able to support the transition and launch of digital TV services across the country.
As a company we are actively supporting the digitization process in India for all types of TV service provider, from large, medium and small cable operators to DTH, but our latest and most significant milestone reached is with Hathway, India’s one of the largest cable MSOs.
More than two and a half million Hathway subscribers are now enjoying value added digital TV viewing with NDS technologies – the largest numbers in the cable industry, according to Media Partners Asia.
Hathway are a prime example of an operator taking advantage of the capabilities of digital cable to enable innovative services and differentiate their offering. In 2003, Hathway became NDS’ first customer in India with the deployment of conditional access system and middleware, their digital footprint now cover leading Indian cities including Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Baroda, Bhopal, Chennai, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Mumbai, New Delhi, Pune and Surat.
Commenting on the digitization of their business and the impact of the process on the industry, CEO of Hathway Mr. K Jayaraman said: “The past year has seen substantial developments, both in the Indian cable industry and within Hathway itself due to the government’s decision to mandate digital cable TV services. The transition of 70–75 million analogue homes to digital cable in a span of the next two-and-a-half years will bring tremendous opportunities to the cable TV industry, as well as to technology providers like NDS. At Hathway, we have begun the process of digitization without waiting for the government’s DAS mandate, being confident that this is the future of pay-TV services in India. We are betting big on converting our current analogue homes into digital by the end of 2014, with a clear focus on high-definition services. Building on our position at the forefront of the Indian cable TV industry, we are committed to bringing a new and better TV experience to our subscribers.”
Hathway proudly provide the widest spectrum of solutions for its subscribers, from SD and HD zapper boxes to digital video recorders and high-definition. With a history of several firsts in the Indian cable market; the first to go digital, the first to implement a middleware solution and customized electronic program guide (EPG), the first to launch a DVR and HD services, Hathway have a thirst for technology and innovation – something that is reflected across the industry.
As we near the analogue switch off in 2014, we are seeing an appetite for more advanced services than at equivalent stages of digitization in other countries – both from operators and subscribers. Using the market leading conditional access system and set-top box middleware from NDS, Indian operators are able to provide a basic offering that leapfrogs what would traditionally be an entry level solution and launch with advanced features. This is crucial in a market where you have thousands of TV service providers vying for a subscribers money – but at the same time extremely low ARPU so a need to justify an increase in spend by providing services that surpass their existing experience.
Needless to say, we’re excited by the success of our customers and would like to congratulate Hathway for reaching such a substantial milestone, but furthermore we anticipate great things for the Indian pay-TV industry – all signs point to a healthy market and hundreds of millions of people yet to enjoy using our technology.