QBiz: Cable TV Rates May Fall; Tata Eyes Rs 8,000 Cr Group Revamp

Here are the top news stories from Chennai.

1. Cable TV Rates May Fall as TRAI Notifies Pricing Framework

Households across the country will now have to pay only Rs 130 per month, excluding taxes, to access 100 standard definition television channels, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) said on Friday.

Trai notified the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (Eight) (Addressable systems) Tariff Order, 2017– a new framework for the pricing of television channels offered to subscribers – and uploaded a copy of the order on its website.

The regulator’s move came just hours after the Supreme Court lifted a stay preventing it from notifying the tariff order, in a case filed by Star India Pvt. Ltd and its subsidiary Vijay Television Pvt Ltd challenging Trai’s jurisdiction to regulate content.

Currently, cable operators charge a minimum of Rs 200-250 per month from subscribers, depending on the number of channels.

(Source: Livemint)

2. Online Sellers Write to CCI Alleging Predatory Pricing by Flipkart's WS Retail and Amazon's Cloudtail

A group of online sellers has written to the Competition Commission of India alleging that Flipkart’s WS Retail and Amazon’s Cloudtail indulge in predatory pricing and discounting when selling their private label products, destroying the business of smaller rivals such as Snapdeal and online sellers.

The vendors also complained that WS Retail and Cloudtail sell branded products such as phones, electronics and fastmoving consumer goods at “rock bottom prices”.

The retailers of private labels AmazonBasics and Flipkart SmartBuy have been tendered special benefits that haven’t been disclosed publicly, the All India Online Vendors’ Association, a group of 2,000 sellers on various online platforms, contended in a letter to the CCI. The letter dated 2 March, 2017, was reviewed by ET.

(Source: Economic Times)

3. Music Broadcast Raises Rs 146 Cr Through Anchors

Music Broadcast, whose initial public offer opens on Monday, allotted 44.01 lakh shares to 15 anchor investors, raising Rs 146.56 crore at the upper end of the price band of Rs 333 a share. The company operates the Radio City FM station.

The investors include funds run by HSBC, Nomura, Franklin Templeton, Morgan Stanley, DSP BlackRock, ICICI Prudential, Reliance Capital, HDFC and Birla Sun Life.

The company has fixed a price band of Rs 324-333 a share to raise up to Rs 400 crore through primary capital, while existing investors will sell shares worth about Rs 88.5 crore through an offer-for-sale.

The offer closes on 8 March.

(Source: TheHinduBusinessLine)

4. Amazon, Viacom, Reliance Jio in Race for ‘Padmavati’ Rights

Filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s period saga ‘Padmavati’ has more going for it than its massive Rs 180 crore budget. Buyers eyeing its digital and satellite TV rights are already making a beeline to the Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh-starrer, scheduled for release on 17 November.

First in the race is popular American online streaming platform Amazon Prime Video, which is interested in purchasing both for Rs 75 crore, said three people familiar with the development on condition of anonymity.

Since Amazon doesn’t own or have a stake in a broadcast network in India, it is likely to sell the satellite TV rights of the film to a movie channel. 

Amazon has been joined in the race for the television satellite rights by Viacom18, which owns a bouquet of Hindi entertainment channels including Colors and Rishtey.

Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd is also in the running for the same property, likely to be a traffic spinner in the digital space, said one of the three people cited.

(Source: Livemint)

5. LeEco Lays off 270 Employees in India, Says Won't Exit

Chinese electronics major LeEco has laid off nearly 80 per cent of its employees in India as the maker of smartphones and TVs battles a cash crunch back home. Two of its top executives in India have also quit, a spokesperson told BloombergQuint.

Downsizing by LeEco within a year of its launch in India contrasts with an aggressive push by other Chinese smartphone makers.

They accounted for 46 per cent of the overall Indian market in the three months ended December 2016, with none of the local brands making it to the top five, according to market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC).

LeEco, which has cut its headcount in India to 80 from 350 in December last year, will not exit the country, the spokesperson said.

(Source: BloombergQuint)

6. Tata Sons May Embark on Rs 8,000-Cr Group Revamp

Tata Sons’ new Chairman N Chandrasekaran could soon embark on a restructuring exercise to simplify the group’s shareholding. Under this plan, Tata Sons will buy out shares held by group companies in other group entities. The buyout is estimated to cost around Rs 8,000-10,000 crore, according to an industry source.

While a Tata spokesperson declined to comment, sources close to the group said that the restructuring was part of a move to address areas of concern arising out of the rift with ousted Chairman Cyrus Mistry.

If this proposal is executed, some of the listed entities, including Tata Steel, Tata Motors and Tata Chemicals, will receive money from Tata Sons, which could be used to pare debt.

(Source: TheHinduBusinessLine)

7. Reliance Jio Plans to Overtake Airtel, Hit 50% Revenue Market Share in 4 Years

Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) is targeting a revenue market share of 50 percent for Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd by 2021, the company said in the first guidance it has provided analysts on its telecom business.

RIL also said in a presentation to analysts on Thursday that Reliance Jio’s Ebitda margin will exceed 50 per cent by that year. Ebitda is short for earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation – an indicator of operating profitability.

The target set in a conference call by RIL for 2021 exceeds the current revenue market share of Bharti Airtel Ltd, India’s largest telecom company, of 33 percent.

RIL’s forecasts are based on its estimates that revenue of India’s telecom industry will increase 50 percent from current levels to Rs 3 trillion by 2021, largely driven by demand for data, while voice revenue will fall from Rs 1.5 trillion to Rs 0.5 trillion.

(Source: Livemint)

8. Snapdeal in Talks With PayPal to Sell Freecharge

Online marketplace Snapdeal is in talks with US online payment system PayPal to sell Freecharge, three people with knowledge of the development told ET.

The deal would value the online recharge company at around $500 million, they said, compared with the $400 million that Snapdeal paid for it in 2015.

“This will free up to a great deal Snapdeal’s desperate need for funds at a time when investors are not willing to put money into its business,” one of people said.

Snapdeal’s parent Jasper Infotech has been in negotiations for over 18 months with multiple investors – strategic and financial –to raise $150-300 million in fresh capital for its digital payments platform. However, the company is yet to close the round.

(Source: Economic Times)

9. App to Tackle Trolls Against Women in the Offing

Ministry of Women and Child Development has planned to launch an online App 'I am Trolled' soon for women where they are threatened with physical violence on social media in the wake of rape threats made to Delhi University student Gurmehar Kaur recently.

The much delayed ‘Women’s panic button’ with additional feature of ‘Shouting App’ will also become operational by end of this month March as most of the mobile hardware companies are working on it to add the feature.

Even the old mobiles will also be able to add the feature in their existing phones,” said Union Minister Maneka Gandhi while inaugurating a day long conclave on women’s well-being titled “Wellness Rules-Proactive Well Being“ organised by FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO).

(Source: Economic Times)