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'We're Investing Across TV Platform To Extend Our Market Leadership Position'

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Nishant Batra, Head of Engagement Practice, Ericsson India spoke to BW|Businessworld about Satellite broadcast, media services and future plan of Ericsson India

What is your play in Broadcast and Media services?
Ericsson's Broadcast and Media services spans across the entire media value chain of content acquisition, creation, management, exchange and delivery to consumers. Ericsson has been a leader globally in advanced video compression technology solutions for 20 years. Today, we are the worldwide leaders in the broadcast satellite, contribution and distribution markets. In India, four out of the seven DTH operators are based on Ericsson's video compression technology.  

We are investing significantly across our TV platform and video-network areas to extend our market leadership position. By combining our technology & services we help media service providers enhance their ARPUs by better utilization of resources, content or network. Our deep portfolio of managed services enables broadcasters to make significant operational and capital savings by assuming responsibility for technical platforms, while speeding time-to-market and minimizing business continuity risks.

Have you partnered with any Indian operator? What deals are there in the pipeline?
As discussed above, Ericsson is the leading provider of video compression solutions in the Satellite broadcast and DTH arena with 4 out of the 7 DTH operators in India using Ericsson's video compression technology.

We have recently announced our tie up with Tata Sky and Sun TV for the deployment of AVP 4000 video compression platform that will enhance the TV Viewing experience of customers. The new technology from Ericsson will power all 33 Sun TV channels broadcast in India. Tata Sky has also upgraded and expanded its entire DTH platform to Ericsson's industry leading AVP 4000 video compression system, which enables Tata Sky to substantially increase the bouquet of channels offered to their end subscribers while maintaining the highest quality of viewing experience.

Earlier, in March this Year, Ericsson enabled Tata Sky to launch the first commercial 4K video service in the subcontinent. Customers subscribing to the 4K service could watch video up to four times the resolution of the standard high definition (HD) video currently available.

Going forward, we plan to strengthen our TV & Media business in India with an expanded product portfolio to meet the needs of a fast expanding and dynamic TV& Media industry in India.

Who are the customers you are targeting with your solutions?
Uptil earlier this year , we had predominantly focused on our Compression portfolio and Media Delivery Network (MDN) Services for the India market. We now plan to partner with all key stakeholders including Service providers, DTH Players, Content providers, and broadcasters to deliver next generation TV viewing experience to consumers. We plan to strengthen our TV & Media business with an expanded product portfolio to meet the needs of a fast expanding and dynamic TV& Media industry. We foresee a strong growth in this space and expect to achieve a 15% market share in India by the year 2017.

How are your solutions different from other players?
Ericsson, along with its partners is taking the lead in driving the transformation in the TV and media landscape in India.  Our global scale, our services offering, cutting-edge portfolio, and industry knowledge position us as a leading enablement partner for our customers globally.

With ultimate network control and efficiency from content to consumer, we also help Fixed, Mobile, and Converged Network Operators within the media value chain for fast time-to-market innovation and monetization. Ericsson's Media Delivery Network solution redefines the traditional concept with a unique, single-platform approach to the delivery of managed and unmanaged content. By combining our technology &services ,we help media service providers enhance their ARPUs by better utilization of resources, content or network.

Our success across global markets is reinforced by the fact that over 50 per cent of video on demand content around the world is now processed by our technology.

What are the current trends in TV and Entertainment space?
The TV and media industry is witnessing continuous evolution, driven by the rapid upswing of mobile broadband subscriptions and increasing demand for greater consumer experience. Consumers have already started demanding for and consuming Video content on mobile devices anytime, anywhere and this trend will continue in the future.  Our extensive research indicates that in just six years, there will be 9 billion people in the world contributing to more than 8 billion mobile broadband subscriptions and 1.5 billion homes with digital television - furthermore, IP will become the globally dominant media transmission method. These predictions foreshadow a new era of entertainment and connectivity - one that will deliver on the promise of more choices, better quality, and greater personalization for consumers and where content providers and operators will engage in new monetization models.

What opportunities and challenges do you see in the Connected TV Space in India?
The connected TV space in India holds huge potential for Ericsson. The TV & broadcast industry is undergoing dramatic changes with the transition to multi-platform, on-demand television and Ericsson is taking the lead in driving this transformation together with our partners.

Service providers in India are ready to make investments to cater to the consumers' demands for increased convenience and enhanced experience.  We have recently enabled Tata Sky to launch India's first commercial 4K video service- customers subscribing to this service can watch video up to four times the resolution of the standard high definition (HD) video currently available. We have also tied up with Tata Sky and Sun TV for the deployment of our video compression platform. Further the government's decision to digitise the cable platforms across India also presents huge potential for players like us to offer next generation services.

In terms of challenges, bandwidth is a key challenge currently in enabling a seamless experience to consumers across different platforms. Further the proposed digitization plan of the Indian government is yet to be implemented across the country.

What will be your future strategy?
Ericsson has set out a clear long-term strategic framework for becoming an industry leader, driving transformation through mobility and becoming a trusted ICT transformation partner for our customers. This framework includes excelling in our core business - radio, core and transmission, and telecom services and focusing on new targeted areas like Cloud, IP networks, TV and media, OSS and BSS, as well as in Industry &Society .

Ericsson's strategy builds directly into our vision of a connected world in which broadband, mobility and cloud combine to create a Networked Society- where everything that can gain from a connection will be connected.