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Roundup: UTV; Rural Teledensity; VDopia; Verismo; Wifi On Trains; Canaan Partners; NovelRace

UTV Consolidates Motion Pictures Subsidiary

UTV’s Mauritius-based Motion Pictures subsidiary, which is listed on London’s AIM stock exchange, is now being merged with the parent company, it informed the BSE. UTV Software Communications owns 76.82% of UMP and the balance is owned by independent stakeholders, with whom the company plans to undertake a share swap exercise. It will offer 1 equity share for every 3.5 shares held, which will result in a 15.84% dilution in its capital and the promoters’ holding will fall from 83.25% to 70.06%. The move is expected to increase operational synergies and shareholder value.

Rural Teledensity Four Times Target; BSNL To Implement Last of VPTs In Nov

The government announced rural teledensity in India is 16.54% as of May 2009 (as of March 2009, as we reported in our quarterly telecom post, it was 14.8%). It has flown past the targeted teledensity of 4% for 2010, as conceived by the New Telecom Policy of 1999. The village public telephones project under the Bharat Nirman Scheme and supported by the USO fund will begin its final phase in November, covering 35534 villages which do not yet have access to a public telephone facility. In February, it entered into an agreement with BSNL to install the VPTs. BSNL set up 26909 VPTs by May 2009.

Our Take: A comparison: Urban teledensity (as of March 2009) was 88.66%. This has mostly to do with private operators and intense competition. Now these private operators are focussing on rural India to drive growth, so we can expect rural teledensity to also rise meteorically. Should the government be focussing on providing the obsolete VPTs or make it easier for private operators to introduce mobiles to drive up connectivity?

VDopia Launches Talk2Me Ads

Video advertising firm VDopia has launched an interactive advertising unit that harnesses social networking sites such as Facebook and Orkut, with users sharing the ads on their profiles. The ads are interactive, such as an auto advertisement that makes it easier to get information about the product – there are links within it that let the user explore the entertainment system and view a demo of the DVD player; or make a comparison; search the inventory and pricing of local dealers in the user’s area and finally ask for detailed information.

Our Take: What’s the propensity to share an advertisement? If you go by the ZooZoo’s, probably high, but you’re not likely to share or interact with most advertisements that you view online. There’s a difference between viewing an advertisement on YouTube or Facebook as content, and being forced to view an advertisement before getting access to a video that you’re interested in.

Related: YouTube’s plans for prerolls

WiFi On Trains

The Shatabdi connecting Mumbai and Ahmedabad will offer wireless Internet connectivity all through the journey. The pilot conducted in January was successful and the government is now considering implementing WiFi on other trains too. Since passengers will require a password and credit cards to access the Internet, the government has decided that it will not be a security threat. Remember how WiFi became the enemy of the state after the Mumbai terrorist attack? Similar pilots have been undertaken in other Shatabdis by Indian Railways and private WiFi firm Zylog (on the Chennai-Bangalore Shatabdi) and we hope it wont take another 6 months for the government to launch WiFi on them. Pricing details are not available.

Related: WiFi In Trains Piloted On Shatabdi Express; Music Downloads, Movies On Demand?

Canaan Partners To Invest More In India

Venture capital fund Canaan Partners has increased its corpus for India from 10% to 20-25% of its total corpus. Canaan had $650 million in the beginning of 2008 and has invested a third of it in startups across the globe. So far, the VC has invested in six Indian companies: VAS company MCarbon, Bharatmatrimony.com, legal process outsourcing company UnitedLex, Cellcast, iYogi Holdings and film based content portal Chakpak. (Financial Chronicle)

Read more about Canaan’s investments on Medianama.

NovelRace: One For Authors

A community of Indian writers has begun participating in a ‘novel race’, with updates on Twitter using the hashtag #novelrace, in a race to see who finishes their novels first. It was initiated by Samit Basu, the author of The Gameworld Trilogy.

Related: Desicritics has a weekly update on NovelRace.

Verismo & Sonic Solutions Bring Premium Entertainment To Act’s IPTV Customers

Verismo and Sonic Solutions announced that the latter’s Roxio CinemaNow service will be offered to ACT Television’s IPTV customers in 100,000 homes in Bangalore. The video on demand service will allow the users to find, rent and purchase movies over IPTV.

Related: IPTV Launched In Bengaluru By ACT TV; Internet Videos; To Invest Rs. 450 Crores

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