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Cellcast’s Channel Plans; Average ARPU Rs 50; Will Seek Funding

Why is Cellcast launching a 24x7 TV interactive TV channel instead of launching more TV shows on other channels? Cellcast CEO Pankaj Thakar, in conversation with MediaNama, said that they have a large portfolio of content which they aren't able to put on air because of inventory issues. "GEC channels have their own compulsions, and we don't currently have a show on prime time, which we would like to do." Cellcast's 24x7 Channel will have 12-14 hours of live programming, and the rest will be music, repeat shows. Cellcast will also look to do multiplayer gaming through SMS and IVR, Thakar said, and games like interactive Soduko. Launch Plans They're hoping for a launch in the first quarter of the next financial year, but Thakar says, realistically, it could take until Q2. At present, Thakar says, the company's various properties have a cumulative user base of over 70 million, and adds 10-15 million new users every month. It currently runs 6 unique TV shows and if simulcasts are also taken into consideration the number goes up to 10 with 8 hours of daily programming. Distribution; Free To Air Initially The company will seek to distribute the channel across Cable and DTH equally, despite distribution (carriage) costs for DTH and Cable being different. Thakar says that distribution costs would amount to around Rs. 20 to 30 crores. The channel will be free to air initially and depending on the audience base it might be made a pay channel in a couple of…

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