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Breaking News : Airtel plans video-on-demand

Bharti Airtel is planning to launch a new service called progressive download (PDL) service for which it has sought permission from the Department of Telecom.

The PDL service would comprise two services — video-on-demand and Catch-up TV — to be provided under Unified Access Services Licence (UASL) as Internet protocol TV (IPTV) services.


The provision of this service utilises the infrastructure provided under direct-to-home (DTH) and Internet service provider licences also, a note seen by Business Line said.

As a prerequisite, a PDL customer will have to be an existing Airtel DTH and broadband customer.

The total revenue collected from the customer for the two services would be apportioned between Bharti Telemedia Ltd (which holds a valid licence to provide DTH services) and Bharti Airtel Ltd (which holds a valid UAS licence to provide IPTV services).

According to the letter sent to the DoT, 70 per cent of the revenue from PDL service will be booked by Bharti Airtel and rest under Bharti Telemedia Ltd as the content and the related management services are being provided under this licence.

When contacted, Bharti Airtel declined to comment on the communication sent to the DoT.

The company in the letter to the DoT said the PDL service monthly charges will be for subscription to channels on Catch-up TV. These channels would be pre-determined or selected by Airtel and would be available in recorded format for seven days.


The customer can view any programme on Catch-up TV from the available channels as long as that channel is a part of the DTH subscription also.

This would be one of the big steps by the company to avail such facilities in India. Sanjay Kapoor, Chief Executive Officer, Bharti Airtel, in an interview to Business Line on Monday said that ‘the non-voice and video’ are the verticals for the telecom service provider going forward.

About 22-23 per cent of the company’s revenue comes from non-voice (such as DTH and Internet) and around 15 per cent comes from mobile non-voice services, he said.

Business Line
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