Driving cross-selling of digital video, broadband and Value-Added Services to customers in key markets has been a key focus area over the last few quarters
Vynsley Fernandes, Media Group Chief Executive Officer – NXTDIGITAL Ltd
The need of the hour for Multi-System Operators (and by that token, the Local Cable Operators), especially the regional and independent players is not just to sustain their business, but also grow. Today, besides the increasing cost of operations, especially connectivity; and the threat of technology obsolescence, MSOs and their LCOs are facing significant challenges, some of them existential. The order from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB), notifying sharing of infrastructure by HITS operators with MSOs, addresses that very issue. It allows such MSOs and their network of LCOs to sustain and grow their business whilst staving off technology obsolescence – by sharing the HITS infrastructure to deliver their services, cost-effectively. The best part is that MSOs continue to remain independent and use their existing backend whether it be their CAS, SMS or STBs; whilst using the HITS infrastructure only to deliver their services via satellite to their LCOs and their subscribers. Reduction in connectivity costs is not just the only benefit; there is the potential benefit of significant reduction in downtime as well as improvement in signal quality. Given the Indian landscape of the cable TV industry, the potential for infrastructure sharing stands at just under 70 million cable TV households today– comprising mainly independent and regional MSOs. This would continue to be a key business driver in 2021.
Product bundling and cross-selling
Driving cross-selling of digital video, broadband and Value-Added Services to customers in key markets has been a key focus area over the last few quarters. The business continued to focus on the value model – offering innovative “bundled” products and packages in diverse geographies. This endeavour has resulted in not only growth in EBITDA both year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter but also seen growth in margins. We’ve seen substantial traction for our broadband business as we reach out to offer bundled products to our video customer base. Hence NXT plans to further this endeavour going forward in 2021. The opportunity remains of being able to scale up our broadband business to overlap a significant base of our CATV and HITS subscribers.
The ‘Digital Boutique’push
NXT has a high captive reach not just via our media businesses viz. cable TV, HITS, broadband but also through group companies that easily stands at around 50 million touchpoints. Our focus would be to leverage our network of LCOs to extend their services to a significant number of these touchpoints; whilst building new revenue streams for them. Effectively, our model is to support our LCOs adopt the “digital boutique” concept, offering customers a myriad of services that could well extend beyond video and data. In fact, an app “MSaathi” developed by a partner plans to do just that. The app helps connect local merchants with customers of the LCO – facilitating a commerce model that an LCO is clearly best placed to manage and optimise, given his excellent relationships locally. This is e-commerce at a hyperlocal level and presents a significant opportunity for LCO partners going forward in 2021. The positive rub-off for NXT would be greater customer retention and churn control.
Technology InnovationNXT continues to remain at the forefront in technological innovation. Given the rapidly changing technological landscape, especially in the digital content distribution area, we will continue to innovate. We are just rolling out our next-generation home media gateway “NXTCONNECT”, which is a single device for customers to access “live” television channels, OTT content, social and other apps, games & much more. This is coupled with the rollout of “NXTGO”, an innovative dongle-type device that can be plugged into an OTT Set Top Box (STB) or an Android-based television and provide immediate access to “live”television channels – securely.