Published On:December 6 2008
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Arasu Cable to start operation in Tamil Nadu

Chennai: The recently-formed Tamil Nadu Government undertaking, Arasu Cable TV Corporation, expects to invest Rs 400 crore in starting operations in the State.

The multi system operator (MSO—which provide feeds to cable operators) promises high definition television to its customers and expects to make a net profit of Rs 100 crore in the second year of operations.

Mr C. Umashankar, Managing Director, Arasu Cable, said the company would import 5 million set top boxes.

The company has begun operations in four cities – Thanjavur, Tirunelveli, Coimbatore and Vellore. It aims to begin operations in Chennai by Pongal (mid-January).

(Earlier, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Mr M Karunanidhi, had said that Arasu Cable would offer over 60 pay- and free-to-air channels for less than Rs 100 across the State. In Chennai, where the CAS (conditional access system) is in vogue, the free-to-air channels would be available for less than Rs 100. Those opting for set top boxes will have to pay the rates fixed by TRAI. The subscription would be substantially less than that charged by private operators.)

Mr Umashankar stressed that contrary to an impression among people at large that Arasu Cable TV would be wound up (as a consequence of the rapprochement between the related families of the Chief Minister and the Marans, who run the MSO, Sumangali Cable Vision), Arasu would not only stay in business, but would accelerate its pace of rolling out operations.

He said that business opportunity to work with Arasu would first be given with the existing cable TV operators (who pick up the feed from the MSO and cable it to homes). There are about 60,000 of them in the State. “We do not want to take away their livelihood,” Mr Umashankar said.

Arasu aims at securing four lakh subscribers in a month. By the end of the second year, it expects to have a subscriber base of 75 lakh. (SCV has about 80 lakh).

Arasu Cable has a paid-up equity of Rs 25 crore. Asked how it proposed to finance the rest of the proposed investment, Mr Umashankar said the details were being worked out. Funds would come from both the Government and the market.

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