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Den Networks receives FIPB clearance to up its foreign stake

cable tv

Cable TV distributor and multi system operator (MSO) Den Networks has received clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) to increase its foreign investment limit from the current 49% to 74% reports IndianTelevision.

The company is apparently working on building its broadband base and digitisation of Phase III and IV areas. According to the Indiantelevision report, FIIs currently hold 20.27 in the company. In March, the company’s board of directors had approved the proposal to increase its foreign investment limit. The decision was to go through a shareholder approval.

Last month, Den’s proposal to increase its foreign investment from 49% to up to 74% by FIIs, NRIs, FPIs, and other eligible foreign investors through route of Secondary Market/Open Market purchase had been deferred by the FIPB. Currently DEN claims to have 13 million subscribers in over 200 cities and 13 states in India.

In 2009, DEN Networks planned to foray into the broadband Internet market and acquire majority stakes in MSOs to expand its network. Promoted by Raghav Bahl, managing director, Network18 and Sameer Manchanda of IBN18, DEN offered analog as well as conditional access system (CAS) services under the brand name Digitelly.

Then, it claimed to have 10 million analog cable TV customers and 300,000 subscribers of Digitelly. It had also acquired majority stakes in 62 cable operators as part of its growth strategy and was to continue acquisitions to widen its network coverage, both in the states in which it already had a presence and others.

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Snapdeal-Den shopping TV channel: In January this year, e-commerce player Snapdeal and Den launched a new TV shopping channel known as “Den Snapdeal TV Shop”. The channel would be available to all of Den’s subscribers and extend to other cable and DTH players by June. This was essentially an extension of the pilot announced in September last year. The TV channel would operate as a marketplace for selling unbranded and branded merchandise, services and third-party vouchers, to television home shopping audiences.

Other developments in the space:

– Earlier this week, The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) granted (pdf) provisional registration of 10 years to 60 MSOs including Reliance Jio, Madura Cables, Friends Cable Network, under the third phase of Digital Addressable System (DAS), which is expected to be completed by December. MIB had allegedly quickened the process of MSO registration in order to meet the Phase III deadline.

– Last month, Reliance Industries Limited’s (RIL) telecom & digital arm Reliance Jio received a provisional licence to operate as a pan-India multi-system operator (MSO). Reliance Jio had applied for the license in January this year. The company planned to use its Fibre to the Home (FTTH) connectivity to offer its prospective customers a number of services, including TV, high speed internet, telephone and wireless connectivity.

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