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News Digest: BSNL 3G, Den Networks, Aircel, EROS, BS, Playboy

BSNL’s 3G Roll Outs

The first phase of 3G roll outs by BSNL will be completed by 2010-2011, the company announced; 111 of the total 760 cities and towns will be covered with an investment of Rs.2,700 crore in this phase. The telco, though given a headstart on 3G, has only managed to acquire 13,000 subscribers so far. Meanwhile, the other PSU telco MTNL, which has launched 3G ‘Jadoo’  in Mumbai and Delhi will be adding 750, 000 lines in both cities. (WorldLatestNews)

Related: BSNL FY09 Profit Down 30 Times, Restructuring Plans, 3G Tender, WiMAX

Cable Co Den Networks To Go Public

For the first time in India, a cable TV network is going in for an IPO. Rajkot based Digital Entertainment Networks (DEN) is a pan-India cable TV network with 10 million subscribers. DEN, which entered the digital cable market early in 2008, was founded by Raghav Bahl, promoter and managing director, Network18 and is promoted by Sameer Manchanda, joint managing director, IBN18. Others on its team are Anuj Gandhi, S.N. Sharma and Vikas Bali. It hopes to raise Rs. 5000 million from the IPO proceeds and its share capital will be diluted by 15-20%. (Television Point)

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Aircel Seeks To Sell Its Towers

Tower companies American Tower (in India through XCEL Telecom), Bharti Infratel, Tata-Quippo and Crown Castle International have been shortlisted by the new telco as potential buyers for a part or the whole passive network infrastructure it owns.  The Maxis-owned operator was previously in talks with Tata-Quippo for selling its 12,000 towers, estimated to be worth about $1.5 billion. Meanwhile, Unitech Wireless, another new telco will be leasing towers from Tata-Quippo.

Our Take: Surprising that Indus Towers, the largest tower owner in India, isnt a buyer. Is there some industry rivalry abound? Also read more about tower companies here.

Eros International’s Kambakht Ishq available on Video on Demand In US

Eros International has announced the availability of the movie ‘Kambakkht Ishq’ on its premium subscription video on demand service in the U.S market before the DVD release and weeks after its theatrical release. The film will be made available on Bollywood Hits On Demand to Comcast on August 14, 2009, and Cablevision, Cox and RCN customers. The service allows access to over 25 movies and 50 music videos each month. Eros operates in 5 continents and over 50 countries with offices throughout India, the United Kingdom, USA, UAE, Singapore, Australia, Fiji and the Isle of Man.

Uday Kotak Looking To Sell Business Standard?

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Uday Kotak, owner of Business Standard, held meetings with the Network18 group last month, reports ContentSutra, quoting unnamed sources. The deal apparently did not go through due to issues over price.

Playboy Eyes Indian Market For Apparels; Content?

Playboy Enterprises is launch its range of apparel, footwear and accessories in the Indian market by the end of the year. Earlier this year, the company had launched fragrances in India, and has inked deals with Indian partners to manufacture and sell its products in the market. Perfumes will be sold in India through distribution house JL Morison (India). [The Hindu]

Our Take: The brand is well known in urban India, but it would be incredibly risky for Playboy to look to launch a digital business in the country. Its video clips and wallpapers would be a rage, but it would be a risky proposition from a legal perspective, and could end up being a target for those seeking political mileage by expressing moral outrage and burning buses.

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