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Big TV to Sell 49% Stake to Private Firms

Big TV to sell stake to private equity firmsFollowing footsteps of other DTH players, Reliance Big TV is planning to divest up to 49% stake to private equity companies and global DTH players. According to a business daily, several private equity companies like the Carlyle Group, Sequoia Capital, KKR and US-based DTH firm Direct TV are in talks with Big TV.

Reliance expects to raise around Rs 8000 crore from this deal, because the DTH market is highly competitive in India and to increase subscriber base one needs to have better and affordable pricing. The deal is expected to close this quarter.

Government norms allow 49% foreign investment in DTH, with a rider that the foreign direct investment (FDI) cannot exceed 20% within the overall 49% foreign investment cap.

Currently Big TV has around 1.8 million subscribers out of 12.5 million DTH customers in India, making them the second smallest DTH player in India. Dish TV and Tata Sky are leading at present with 5 million and 4 million subscribers respectively.
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Big TV Announces Special Summer Offer

big tv special summer offer for Rs 1790 Big TV has announced special packages for this summer season priced at Rs 1490 and Rs 1790. With Rs 1790 offer, subscribers get free subscription along with a regional pack for the first three months. Post that customers can purchase add on packs to view their choice of channels.

While in the 1490 offer, customers will have the option of buying multiple channel packages ranging from Rs 98 to Rs 465 per month. Its a good deal as the starter pack of Rs 98 comes with 68 channels, which include the main channels like Star, Sony, Sahara, Set Max etc.

Mahesh Prasad, President, Reliance Communications, said, "Our new offers are part of BIG TV’s continuous endeavour to offer increased value to customers. We’ve also added 3 NDTV channels for the 1790 offer. This goes to show BIG TV stands for the benefit of its customers at all times."

Further BIG TV has also extended the promotion on the other existing package priced at Rs 2490. It will come with four months of free subscription and one month free SVOD (Subscription Video on Demand) for its customers.
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Big TV Launches iNews with CNN-IBN

Intereactive News feature on Big TV With the elections round the corner, Big TV has launched interactive election special called iNEWS as part of its interactive services.

The iNews feature will allow viewers to access current news and information, short text-based stories, headlines and ticker in a user-friendly interface. Some of their other interactive services include iCooking (cuisine), iAstro (astrology) and iGames.

This service is launched in association with news channel CNN-IBN and would be available to all Big TV subscribers.

Through iNEWS, the viewers can watch news and navigate through an 8-window PIP mosaic of video feed options. The user screen includes dedicated news and highlight feeds as well an access to sub genre-based text news stories, news headlines and tickers. Viewers can choose from eight windows including live feeds of CNN-IBN and IBN 7, top headlines, Lok Sabha 09 (dedicated feed for news and views on General Elections 2009), sports and weather.

Mahesh Prasad, president, Reliance Communications, "Reliance BIG TV has always been at the forefront of enhancing customer value through relevant and easy-to-use innovative product features. We are delighted on our partnership with CNN-IBN, with such topically relevant Election Special with interactivity through a 8-window mosaic framework. This will define a new paradigm of customer experience with quality content."

The launch of this new interactive service is way to attract new subscribers as TV sales go up during elections. Big TV aims to capture 40% market share in the next one year.
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Sanjay Behl, the new CEO of Big TV

Sanjay Behl Big TV CEO Big TV has appointed Sanjay Behl as its new CEO to look after the company's DTH and IPTV operations.

Behl currently serves as Reliance Communications Group Head, Brand and Marketing Operations. He will continue to oversee the current responsibilities as well.

Behl's appointment comes at a time when Reliance is looking at doubling its subscriber base within the next one year to three million.

According to the company, "It is also planning to double its channel bouquet from the current 200 to 400 channels and with Sanjay in the lead role, BIG TV will soon reach greater heights in terms of content and competition."

Prior to joining Reliance Communications in August 2005, Behl was Head of Marketing for Nokia's India operations. In November last year, Big TV's former CEO Arun Kapoor stepped down from his position and Mahesh Prasad was the acting president of Reliance Big TV for a short while.
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