In one of the biggest moves of 2014 in the Indian cable industry, Greenwich Equity Partners and Jagran Infra-Projects formed a nationwide MSO entity with Nagesh Chhhabria, promoter of Bhima Riddhi Digital Services. The merger happened in July, 2014 and the estimated valuation of the deal was pegged at Rs 1,200 crore. MSOs in the Indian industry have been performing neck to neck sparing very little space for a new player. To correct this, Bhima Riddhi began focusing on JVs through which they could begin from a LCOs established database. The new Phase III and IV deadlines, RIO model from Star and changing distribution formats made 2014, a roller coaster ride for the MSOs. Recapping the year with Nagesh Chhabria, Head of Bhima Riddhi. Excerpts. How was 2014 for Bhima Riddhi? Yes, it was a better year for Bhima Riddhi in terms of market expansion and also the understanding secured with Jagran Infrastructure and Greenwich equity partners has been challenging and exciting for the group. What according to you were the key industry trends that emerged in 2014? Three major trends has emerged in the Cable industry in 2014 – MSOs were willing to work with each other to resolve ground differences has been established and that can be safely said of the top three. Second was that content for MSOs is fast moving from a fixed fee to a cost per sub model and post 2015 this might be a reality for all broadcasters. Lastly, broad based packaging was implemented in 2014; this will further percolate to Genre based choices. A lot happened on the digitization Phase III and IV front. What are your final views on it? Are you happy with the deadline? My final views are what we did in Phase I and II will not work in III and IV and that is true for every stakeholder in this business. Right from the MSO to the Broadcaster to the LCO, we have to work differently and make the right choices on pricing of STB to the pricing of content. What is your plan of action for Phase III and IV expansion? Like I have mentioned in the past, we have an expansion plan based on a revenue mix for each town/taluka. We need X direct subs, Y Broadband subs and part franchisee business in each of the places we expand to, it will be an aggressive plan and we have tried to encapsulate every detail into this plan, we will also look at joint ventures. Distribution issues with Star and other broadcasters dominated 2014. Please share your views on it I am not sure what you mean by issues with other broadcasters, what we have seen is just a fallout of the Mediapro break up and Star wanting to bundle sports, creating a distortion in the marketplace. I appreciate Star TV’s stance of letting their channels be picked up a la carte and that I believe is a bold move and stems from confidence. On another level the MSOs raced to the market with broad packaging which showed ability on their part. I can see ARPU moving up, but also downward trend for standalone channels in terms of reach and monetization Are you happy with the incentive based RIO model? Time will tell. It is a function of penetration; consumer trends to be established will take another quarter. It’s too early to answer. In terms of subscribers how was the year for Bhima Riddhi? No organic growth was seen within the existing base. However, acquisitions provided a 20 per cent growth in the overall base. In terms of fiscal results, what kind of trends did Bhima Riddhi witness? Balance sheet will reflect a higher subscription based revenue growth.