sahajpicSahaj e-Village, a subsidiary of listed firm SREI Infrastructure Finance, is planning to launch an IPTV channel called Sahaj TV for rural viewers, reports CIOL. Sahaj is involved in setting up kiosks or Common Service Centres (CSCs) and its regional focus will be maintained in this new venture. The content will be made available at www.sahajindia.tv (not functional at present), and thus it appears that Sahaj will provide video content online, which will be accessible from the CSCs that they are establishing in six states.

According to a June 2009 newsletter, the channel will broadcast news, health and programs, and focus on supporting development in the district, and public advocacy on critical issues like access and availability of education, health, roads and electricity. The IPTV launch was supposed to take place in June. The company also plans to partner with IPTV providers and cable operators to transmit its channel.

But will IPTV providers show any interest?Smart Digivision, ACT TV and Aksh Optifibre are primarily rolling out in metros. They are still in the investment stage, injecting funds into the network, equipment and content partnerships. Aksh is looking to raise money. They face enormous competition from DTH and cable operators who are all vying for the same pie. They are looking at cities where the ARPUs are high and might not be in a philanthropic state for a few years. Our sense is that Sahaj will find itself carrier-less

Content Creation

They are training local correspondents in reportage: “A batch of 15 carefully selected village and block level TV correspondents were trained by the SAHAJ IPTV staff in Bhavanipatnam, the district HQ of Kalahandi,” according to the newsletter.

According to a June presentation by the company, the SREI-Wipro consortium operates 22,473 CSCs currently, and has established the data centre and portal to deliver information to entrepreneurs running the kiosks.

CSCs offer various services to villages such as Internet, death certificate, birth certificate, property tax payment, agricultural soil testing, agricultural diagnosis, e-Learning, electricity bill collection, BSNL bill collection, mobile top ups, railway reservation, LIC premium collection, advertising, job portal, gas booking, and examination results.

Read about the current status of Internet CSC rollouts across the country here.

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