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Monday, November 18, 2019
Netflix Revenue Soars on Local Content, Marketing

Reports a net profit of ₹5.1 crore in FY19 as co adds subscribers. The Indian unit of Netflix Inc, the world’s largest online video streaming company, grew more than 700% during 2018-19, helped by expanding local content and marketing blitzkrieg that helped bring subscribers.

Netflix India reported revenues of ₹466.7 crore for FY19 with a net profit of ₹5.1 crore, according to its filing with the registrar of companies sourced from Veratech Intelligence.

In FY18, Netflix India had a turnover of ₹58 crore with ₹20 lakh net profit, which reflected financials for seven months starting September last year after the actual transfer to local distribution entity from Singapore.

“A combination of factors including original content for India, partnership with Airtel for better access to market and fixing payment issues helped Netflix,” said Mohit Yadav, founder of Veratech. “All this combined with new low cost-based variants for a price-sensitive Indian market is the reason behind Netflix's phenomenal growth.”

While the California-based company entered India in January 2016 as part of its global rollout, Netflix was registered as a limited liability partnership (LLP) in the country in April 2017 when it started commissioning content.

Since the company doesn’t share region wise content cost or amortisation ratio, it is difficult to ascertain operating profitability in the market.

Netflix India did not respond to an ET query as of press time Sunday.

The number of digital video viewers in India continues to grow as cheap data plans flood a country of 1.3 billion people, say experts. The country currently has more than 300 million online video viewers, and it’s expected to reach 550 million by FY23. There are 39 companies offering video streaming services, up from nine in 2012. Netflix has low digital video viewers in the country compared to rivals due to its relatively high prices and low amount of local-language content. Its monthly subscriptions start at ₹500, which doesn’t allow simultaneous viewing. Higher plans (₹650 and ₹800) allow for multiple users and simultaneous viewing.

Star India’s streaming platform Hotstar, which controls nearly three fourth of the market, offers a VIP plan for ₹365 a year and premium plan at ₹999 per year, while Amazon Prime Video has a monthly plan of ₹129 and annual of ₹999. The entry of Apple TV+ at ₹99 per month and launch of Disney+ next week are expected to make India a hotbed for content war.

While Netflix doesn’t share subscriber numbers of individual markets, industry estimates put the video streaming service’s Indian subscriber base at 1-1.2 million as of March 2019. The number has increased post July this year when the company launched a mobile only plan at ₹199 per month. (Source: Economic Times)


Apple TV+ goes live in India, 100 other countries

Movie and television buffs in India have another source of entertainment today as Apple TV+ goes live in India and in 100 countries and regions around the world.

Apple TV+ is Apple’s first all-original video subscription service and home. Apple TV+ will offer original shows, movies and documentaries, including “The Morning Show,” “Dickinson,” “See,” “For All Mankind” and “The Elephant Queen.” The service will be available on the Apple TV app on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, Mac and other platforms, including online at tv.apple.com, for Rs 99 per month with a seven-day free trial.

Customers who purchase any iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch or Mac can enjoy one year of Apple TV+ for free. Through Family Sharing, up to six family members can share one Apple TV+ subscription.

“With Apple TV+, we are presenting all-original stories from the best, brightest and most creative minds, and we know viewers will find their new favourite show or movie on our service,” said Zack Van Amburg, Apple’s head of Worldwide Video. “Each Apple TV+ original offers its own unique story, fresh perspective and powerful message — all meant to entertain, connect and inspire cultural conversations.”

Some of the shows available on Apple TV+ include:

“The Morning Show,” a cut-throat drama starring and executive produced by Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, and starring Steve Carell, explores the world of morning news and the ego, ambition and the misguided search for power behind the people who help America wake up in the morning.

“See,” an epic drama starring Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard, is set 600 years in the future after a virus has decimated humankind and rendered the remaining population blind. When all humanity has lost the sense of sight, humans must adapt and find new ways to survive.

“Dickinson,” a darkly comedic coming-of-age story, explores the constraints of society, gender and family through the lens of rebellious young poet, Emily Dickinson.

“For All Mankind,” a new series from Ronald D. Moore, imagines what would have happened if the global space race never ended and the space program remained the cultural centrepiece of America’s hopes and dreams.

Helpsters,” a new children’s series from the makers of “Sesame Street,” stars Cody and a team of vibrant monsters who love to help solve problems. It all starts with a plan.

“Snoopy in Space,” a new original from Peanuts Worldwide and DHX Media, takes viewers on a journey with Snoopy as he follows his dreams to become an astronaut. Together, Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the Peanuts crew take command of the International Space Station and explore the moon and beyond.

“Ghostwriter,” a reinvention of the beloved original series, follows four kids who are brought together by a mysterious ghost in a neighbourhood bookstore, and must team up to release fictional characters from works of literature.

“The Elephant Queen,” an acclaimed documentary film and cinematic love letter to a species on the verge of extinction, follows a majestic matriarch elephant and her herd on an epic journey of life, loss and homecoming.

Oprah Winfrey joins the world’s most compelling authors in conversation as she builds a vibrant, global book club community and other projects to connect with people around the world and share meaningful ways to create positive change. There is also a Bollywood channel including films such as PK, Wake up Sid, a collection of Amitabh Bachchan movies, and other collections. The service comes at a Rs 99 cost but individual shows can either be rented or bought for differing prices. (Source: Hindu BusinessLine)


Foreign investors likely to invest Rs 18,000 cr in Vodafone Idea rights issue

Foreign investors are likely to invest around Rs 18,000 crore in the rights issue of Vodafone Idea, which includes a major chunk from promoter Vodafone Group, sources said. The company’s Rs 25,000 crore rights issue will open on April 10.

“Vodafone Idea had approached government for FDI approval. The proposal has received clearance from Cabinet. It is expected that Rs 18,000 crore during the rights issue will come from foreign sources,” an official said. Any foreign funding above Rs 5,000 crore requires Cabinet approval. The Cabinet had on February 28 cleared the company’s FDI proposal.

The promoter shareholders -- Vodafone Group and Aditya Birla Group -- have reiterated to the board that they intend to contribute up to Rs 11,000 crore and up to Rs 7,250 crore respectively, amounting to total of Rs 18,250 crore, as part of the rights issue. While Vodafone Group’s entire funding will be considered as foreign investment in the rights issue, Aditya Birla Group may also route funds from its foreign entities, sources said.

The board of directors of Vodafone Idea on March 20 cleared the planned Rs 25,000-crore rights issue at a price of Rs 12.50 per equity share, a steep 61 per cent discount to the prevailing market rate. In a regulatory filing, the company had said the rights entitlement ratio has been fixed at 87 equity shares for every 38 shares held by eligible shareholders of the company on the record date, that is April 2, 2019. According to Citi Research, the successful completion of the capital raise would be positive for the company as it could strengthen the balance sheet, remove going concern risks, and help enhance network capacity and coverage. (Source: The Hindu BusinessLine)

Indians pay more for Netflix than Japanese, Canadians but get less number of movies

Indians pay more for Netflix than Japanese, Canadians but get less number of moviesIn a list of top 10 cheapest countries to watch Netflix, India is at the last spot. Netflix India subscription plan, which begins at a monthly price of Rs 500, is however cheaper than the US and UK but is expensive than Japan and Canada. Netflix India’s library of movies and shows is also not as extensive, according to a report.

Although lower than major markets like the US, UK and European countries, video streaming platform Netflix is priced higher in India than 9 other countries, including Japan and Canada. According to a research report by Comparitech.com, Netflix’s India monthly subscription plan, which begins from Rs 500, is the 10th cheapest among a list of 24 countries.

A country-by-country comparison of Netflix subscription plans shows that the cheapest place to watch Netflix is Turkey. At a monthly cost of just $3.27, it is almost 60% cheaper than the US and UK. Turkey is followed by Argentina, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Colombia and Canada. “In fact, on a cost-per-month basis, the US and UK don’t fare too well, with the US ranking as the 26th cheapest place and the UK as the 25th. This is probably due to Netflix using the US, UK, Canada et. all to subsidize its growth elsewhere,” the report said.

The size of the Netflix library also varies from country to country. Due to its extensive library of anime, Japan has the largest number of movies and shows — about 6,000.

India, on the other hand, gets about 5,000 Netflix titles, out of which about 3,500 are movies.
The subscription plan of Netflix, which has already made a profit of Rs 20 lakh in its second year of India operations, has been debated as two of its closest competitors — Amazon Prime Video and Hotstar — have much cheaper plans costing Rs 999 per year.

The world’s No.1 OTT platform, which has announced that it has no plans to lower subscription rates in India, is however going to test mobile-only plan in some countries like Malaysia. If the mobile-only subscription plan works out in India, then the entry-level subscription plan may automatically become cheaper. The existing basic plan for Netflix, priced at Rs 500 per month, allows a subscriber to watch movies and shows on laptop, phone, tablet and even TV.

Netflix India has 5 web series and a feature film scheduled soon for release. The web series comprises sports drama Selection Day co-produced by actor Anil Kapoor arriving in December; feminist drama Leila directed by Deepa Mehta, adaptations of books Midnight’s Children and Bard of Blood—the latter stars Emraan Hashmi and is co-produced by Shah Rukh Khan—and Baahubali:Before the Beginning, a spin-off of the iconic film franchise. A feature film called Rajma Chawal directed by Leena Yadav will also stream soon. (Source:Mint)

Delay in BharatNet project leads to transfer of key officials at DoT

Delay in BharatNet project leads to transfer of key officials at DoTThe delay in the implementation of BharatNet project has led to Department of Telecom (DoT) Secretary Aruna Sundararajan taking tough action over the last few days. Between November 1 and 14, Sundararajan transferred eight senior officials, including Deputy Director Generals (DDG) and Joint Administrative Officers at DoT, to other departments or branches across States with immediate effect, sources told BusinessLine.

USOF connection
Most of the transferred officials were part of the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), and were among the keys persons in charge of the project, which is meant to connect all 2.5 lakh gram panchayats (GPs) in the country by March 2019.

The role of USOF, under the DoT, is to provide widespread and non-discriminatory access to quality information communication services (internet) at affordable prices to people in rural and remote areas.

The transferred USOF officials are SK Gupta, Senior DDG (Licensing Finance Policy, DoT headquarters); Mahmood Ahmed, Joint Administrator (USOF, DoT headquarters); Sudhir Bhandari, DDG (USOF); Lalit Gangal, DDG (USOF); and Mohammed Mahomood Ur Rehman, Director (USOF) – they have been transferred to other States or other branches in the DoT headquarters itself, sources said.

BusinessLine tried to reach out to some of these officials, but they were unavailable for comments.

The transfers came after many review meetings by both Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha and Secretary Sundararajan, in which they found poor operations and maintenance and utilisation of BharatNet infrastructure.

This also forced Sundararajan to also write a harsh letter on November 2 to both Sanjay Singh, CMD of BBNL, and Anupam Srivastava, CMD of BSNL, saying that extensive field reports found “non-functioning of connectivity provided in 80-90 per cent of the GPs as well as massive under-utilisation/non-utilisation of the project”.

Key infra companies
Bharat Broadband Network Ltd (BBNL) and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) are the main infrastructure companies under the government undertaking the project. However, as of October, only 1.15 lakh GPs are service-ready, and though clear utilisation target has already been set, the actual utilisation on the ground is understood to be less than 10 per cent of the target. (Source: The Hindu BusinessLine)

How subscription model is a test of loyalty for companies like Netflix, Hotstar

How subscription model is a test of loyalty for companies like Netflix, HotstarHarsha Annadurai does not like pirated content. It is no surprise, then, that he is a big fan of video and audio streaming services. So much so that the 23-year-old is a subscriber to Netflix, Hotstar, Amazon Prime and Apple Music. That may seem like a lot of subscriptions but it is not. Just ask around and you will find more people with as many or even more media subscriptions. What’s more, streaming platforms, or media broadly, are not the only services Indians are subscribing to these days. Annadurai, for instance, paid Rs 1,899 in February for an annual subscription to Zomato Gold.

With this, he could get two drinks free on an order of as many drinks or 1+1 on food at select restaurants. “I’m pretty sure I saved that money in the first two months,” says Annadurai, who works for a Bengaluru-based marketing software startup. Zomato Gold is available in 20 cities and has over 6 lakh subscribers.

In the pre-internet age, subscriptions were largely limited to newspapers and magazines. But now, besides the likes of Netflix and Zomato Gold, you can subscribe to a range of products and services — from artisanal coffee to cosmetics, cold-pressed juice to cars.

While there is no data available on the overall subscription market in India, since it is in its early stages, it is clear that more and more brands want in on it, helped in no small measure by the wide variety of payment options. It is a true test of consumer loyalty, especially monthly subscriptions. If the subscriber does not see value in it, she is not going to renew it, which means brands have to constantly measure up to expectations.

Video and audio streaming services have to be credited with getting Indians comfortable with subscription. Revenues from subscription to streaming platforms are set to grow five times, from Rs 390 crore in 2017 to Rs 2,100 crore in 2020, according to a report by Ficci, an industry body, and EY, a consultancy.

In 2017, there were 87.6 million music streaming users, more than a third of whom were subscribers, according to the Ficci-EY report, and 27.1 million video streaming users in India, according to Statista. It is not clear how many video subscribers there are in all. But according to IHS Markit, a market research firm, Netflix had 5.2 lakh subscribers in India at 2017-end, and Amazon had 6.1 lakh. Hotstar has 1.6 million, according to the Financial Times. Netflix is the priciest of all three, with its monthly subscriptions ranging from Rs 499 to Rs 799.

Amazon and Hotstar charge Rs 129 and Rs 199 a month, respectively, and Rs 999 for an annual subscription. An Amazon Prime subscription includes faster delivery and its video and audio streaming services.

Subscribing to all these may not really come cheap but people like Annadurai find a way around it by sharing it with friends and family. Annadurai shares his Netflix subscription with three friends and has opted for the six-member family plan of Apple Music, at Rs 199/month. A recent survey of over 1,800 video streaming subscribers in India by Pixights, a research and consultancy firm, found that 80% of them share their subscription.

If streaming services are in some sense an extension of cable TV, then gyms have given way to niche fitness centres and apps. Cult, cofounded by Mukesh Bansal of Myntra fame, offers subscriptions ranging from Rs 14,990 for 3 months to Rs 36,990 a year to its fitness centres. GoQii, which competes with Cult for your fitness budget, bundles plans with its wearable device, starting at Rs 1,999 for 3 months and going up to Rs 5,999 for 12 months. A fitness coach stays in touch with the subscriber through the GoQii app. (Source: Economic Times)

Netflix to produce more original Indian titles

Netflix to produce more original Indian titles Lines up 21 new productions, including series and movies SINGAPORE, NOVEMBER 9. Riding high on the success of its first original series, Sacred Games’ in India, media-tech giant Netflix Inc plans to double its expansion in the market. Responding to a query from BusinessLine, Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer,said, “You have seen the impact of ‘Sacred Games’ and it is the testimony to the production value and quality of story telling that differentiates Netflix from other services. That is something that we are going to double and triple down on by expanding our regional investments dramatically in the next few years.”

The Los Gatos-headquartered company had announced the production of its first ever original Indian series ‘Sacred Games’ starring Saif Ali Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui in 2016. In the same year it announced its first original movie ‘Love Per Square Feet’. The company has a line up of about 21 new productions, a combination of series and movies, for the next one year, adding the total number of original Indian titles to 28.

According to Sarandos, India is witnessing a growth similar to the growth that Brazil saw seven years ago and that Netflix’s plan to acquire the next 100 million subscribers would come with a focus in India, Korea and Japan. At present, it has about 60 million subscribers in the US market and about 70 million in the international market. The company doesn’t share its country specific subscriber base.

However, industry experts, say that the subscriber base in India would be much less given the fact that its pricing is expensive and largely restricted to the metro cities at a time when its competitors Amazon, Hotstar and Zee5 have been playing a volume game with low pricing strategy. Amazon Prime charges about Rs 999 per year while Netflix’s subscription starts from Rs 500 per month. While Amazon with 10 million subscribers, is yet to break even in the Indian market, Netflix has already turned profitable.

According to its financial data sourced from Tofler, Netflix has reported a profit of ₹20.2 lakh in fiscal year 2018. Its revenues stood at ₹58 crore. However this numbers are only for seven months since September last year.

The company will also focus a lot on regional movies, with the first onea Marathi movie called ‘15th August’, produced by actress Madhuri Dixit. It is also making a multilingual prequel of the blockbuster fantasy period drama ‘Bahubali- Before the beginning’. The company’s immediate release next month is Rishi Kapoor starrer Rajma Chawal. Its previous movies include Ghoul, Brij Mohan Amar Rahe, Little Things and Brahman Naman.(Source: The Hindu BusinessLine)

Airtel offers Rs 300 discount on Rs 399 postpaid plan

Airtel offers Rs 300 discount on Rs 399 postpaid planThe Sunil Bharti Mittal-led Bharti Airtel has announced a new offer for its postpaid customers. Under this new deal, Airtel offers a total discount of Rs 50 for its users on its Rs 399 myPlan Infinity postpaid recharge.

The Sunil Bharti Mittal-led Bharti Airtel has announced a new offer for its postpaid customers. Under this new deal, Airtel offers a total discount of Rs 50 for its users on its Rs 399 myPlan Infinity postpaid recharge. The said discount will be provided to the customers in form of Rs 50 vouchers over the next six months taking the total value to Rs 300. This will also bring down the effective price of Rs 399 plan down to Rs 349. With the introduction of this offer for postpaid users, Airtel will now be able to challenge Vodafone’s RED range of postpaid plans. Vodafone’s RED range of postpaid plans starts at a price of Rs 299.

Under this plan, Airtel users get 20GB data per month with ‘carry forward’ policy for both 3G and 4G SIMs. However, Airtel is offering an additional 20 GB data for the next 12 months taking the monthly data benefits to 40GB. This similar to what Vodafone offers to its user with its RED Rs 399 postpaid plan. Apart from this, the Airtel customer also enjoy other benefits like 100 outgoing text messages or SMS and free voice calls. The customers also receive a benefit of free subscriptions to Airtel TV and Wynk Music for a period of three months.

The move comes after Bharti Airtel was dethroned from its top position in the telecom industry with the merger of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular. The merger has given rise to India’s largest telecom operator- Vodafone India Limited. It also surpassed Bharti Airtel with a total revenues of over Rs 80,000 crore, 400 million customers, 35 per cent subscriber market share and 41 per cent revenue market share.

According to a data released by Telecom Regulatory Association of India (TRAI), the Bharti Airtel remained the market leader in the month of June, with a total user count of 344.56 million, followed by Vodafone’s 222.73 million, Idea’s 220.60 million and Jio’s 215.26 million. (Source: FE Online)

GatesAir Amplifies Efficiency and Functionality for DAB Radio Ecosystem atI BC2018

GatesAir Amplifies Efficiency and Functionality for DAB Radio Ecosystem atI BC2018Maxiva™ VAXTE transmitter and Intraplex® IP Link STL networking solutions cover the spectrum for SFN deployments of any scale and power level.

CINCINNATI, July 26, 2018 — As European radio broadcasters adopt the DAB/DAB+ digital audio standard and IP-based networkingthroughout their transmission infrastructures, GatesAir, a global leader in wireless, over-the-air content delivery solutions for radio and TV broadcasters, has optimized its high-efficiency Maxiva™ VAXTE transmitter for use in small-scale DAB/DAB+ radio installations requiring relatively lower power levels ranging from 10W up to 1kW

While the VAXTE was originally designed to drive power levels up to 8kW for large-scale and national DAB radio deployments, and up to 25.6kW for VHF TV channels across Bands I and Band III, GatesAir’s latest product introduction adds support for less expansive, regional DAB radio applications that now makes the transmission platform one of the most flexible, scalable and versatile on the market.

GatesAir will showcase this space-saving, air-cooled transmitter—along with its Intraplex® intelligent IP networking solutions forreliable, secure audio and data transport—at Stand 8.D60 at the upcoming IBC2018 (September 14-18, RAI Conference and Exhibition Center). As complementary products, the VAXTE and Intraplex IP Link family—including audio codecs, IP transport gateways, and monitoring and control software—work together to ensure the most efficient, resilient and robust DAB radio workflow across any single frequency network (SFN) operation.

Maxiva VAXTE

For cost-conscious DAB/DAB+ radio deployments and other international use cases, the newly optimized Maxiva VAXTE incorporates the same innovative features available in the high-power DAB transmitters. These include: GatesAir’s patented PowerSmart® Plus architecture for high-power density and efficiency, EDI IP (and legacy ETI) signal protocols, and GatesAir’s patented Real-time Adaptive Correction (RTAC) for market leading digital signal correction

At the IBC show, GatesAir will demonstrate all of these innovations within groundbreaking, space-efficient platforms that consume 78 percent less floor space than its predecessors.

By saving space at the transmitter site, the VAXTE allows broadcasters to accommodate more transmitters—delivering more channels—in a much smaller footprint, while cutting energy consumption by 50 percent. This also reduces costs with simpler installation and maintenance, while providing the flexibility to switch between EDI or ETI signal transport streams,” said Ted Lantz, Vice President and General Manager, Radio Product Line, GatesAir

With the latest software-defined Maxiva XTE exciter built-in, VAXTE transmitters can support DAB Radio (DAB, DAB+ and T-DMB) as well as OFDM (DVB-T, DVB-T2Lite, ISDB-T, ATSC 3.0) modulations. Based on the modular design, the transmitter can be flexibly configured and upgraded to meet desired size and power level requirements. With an innovative design that separates hot-swappable, front-access power supplies from power amplifiers, among other ergonomic enhancements, the VAXTE also simplifies installation andmaintenance, resulting in a more favorable total cost of ownership.

As part of our long legacy of innovation, the VAXTE is a next-generation transmission platform that saves broadcasters money, while making them more competitive as they deal with evolving broadcast standards, and the industry-wide shift to IP networks,” said Lantz.

Intraplex® IP Networking

When used in conjunction with GatesAir’s Intraplex® IP Link family of intelligent networking solutions, the Maxiva VAXTE transmitterbecomes part of an overall DAB or VHF workflow that provides advanced IP stream processing, monitoring and correction to ensurehigh-quality, error-free IP audio data transport from the studio out to the transmitter sites and SFNs.

“At IBC, we’ll showcase the operational benefits of our entire Intraplex® IP Link product line, which leverages our patented dynamic stream splicing capability to ensure that the transport of audio and data across IP networks is as secure and reliable as possible,” said Keyur Parikh, Vice President and General Manager, Intraplex Product Group, GatesAir. “This includes Intraplex IPConnect, a stand-alone gateway system that provides real-time protection of any IP packet data stream to improve the flow of audio and control traffic over IP.” IPConnect is designed as a cost-efficient solution for customers that only want transport stream optimization, without theencoding and decoding capabilities offered by IP Link codecs.

IBC also marks the European debut of the Intraplex IP Link 200A codec, which combines audio encoding and decoding with optionalbuilt-in GPS for tightly synchronized SFN operations. IP Link 200A codecs integrate all capabilities of the globally established Intraplex IP Link 200 codec, including DAB transport stream protection, with a new AES67 AoIP interface. Ideal for STL, audio contribution and distribution functions, the Intraplex IP Link 200A provides two bidirectional stereo audio channels, one of which complies with the AES67 standard for establishing interoperability between Dante, Ravenna, Livewire and other Audio over IP networking systems.

The GatesAir Intraplex IP Link product family also includes LiveLook software for analyzing and monitoring all of the streams being transported on an IP network, and generating reports and graphs to illustrate real-time and historical performance. GatesAir’s family of Intraplex IP Link products can be used with any transmitter on the market, making their deployments even more flexible and accessible to broadcasters worldwide. (Source:IBC Show News)

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