The subsidiary of Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio Infocomm, Reliance Jio Media Pvt. Ltd. acquired a pan-India provisional permit to operate as a multi-system operator (MSO). The company has moved a step further to establish itself as a nationwide distributor of television channels.
The spokesperson of Reliance Jio Media informed last week that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has provisionally registered Reliance Jio Media Pvt. Ltd. as a pan-India MSO and the letter regarding the same has also been issued. The license is yet to receive a final call from the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Plans of Reliance Jio Media
The company applied for the pan-India MSO license in January, this year. It wants to make use of its fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) connectivity and give a number of services to its prospective customers. The services may range from television channels, telecom services, wireless access and fast internet connectivity.
As an MSO, Reliance Jio Media will act as a cable operator. It will receive programming services from a broadcaster. It will then give them out for simultaneous reception directly to multiple subscribers or by the medium of one or more local cable operators.
In the recent annual shareholders’ meeting of Reliance Industries, the Chairman informed that Reliance Jio is striving to develop all of its television channels under Network 18 and thus obtain a leading position in the market.
There are 17 news and 14 entertainment channels operating under Network 18. These channels are available in eight different languages. Network 18 also has significant internet ventures. These internet businesses will help in the evolution of Reliance Jio platform. Ambani in the recent annual general meeting said, “We are working to transform all of these to build and sustain leadership in each of these areas. By 2017-18, it will be the most integrated TV or mobile content in India.”
Reliance Jio Media has not yet announced when it will begin its distribution network. It has already recruited prominent industry experts to boost its activities.
In February, this year, the company appointed former Head of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd., K. Jayaraman as its Chief Executive Officer and former Head of DEN, S.N. Sharma as a member of itstop leadership team.One of the directors of Reliance Industries, Adil Zainulbhai will be guiding the business on integrating television and mobile.
Indian television market
India consists of around 170 million television sets. 20 million of these are terrestrial (Doordarshan), 40-45 million have a direct-to-home (DTH) connection, and around 100 million are operated by cable television services. Out of these 100 million, 30-35 million are digitized.
Some major MSOs present in India include Hathway Cable and Datacom Ltd. DEN Satellite Network Pvt. Ltd., Digi Cable Network India Pvt. Ltd., etc. Reliance Jio’s deep pockets will benefit it to give a tough competition to the existing companies. Ambani further said, while working on the 170 million TV sets of the country, they will multiply it by four and look at that numberof devices to offer services to. Thus, a market of 500 million devices cannot be captured by a single company.
Reliance Jio has obtained a pan-India provisional license enabling the company to become a multi-system operator (MSO).