Media E2E, a media technology company based in Mumbai, recently launched India’s first digital television and radio programming guide. Called Zipazap.com, the service is meant for digital media platforms, including television, Internet and mobile phones. It allows consumers to keep track of programmes across TV and radio channels.
Media E2E, founded by a group of broadcast industry professionals, has tied up with several major TV networks and software and telecom service providers for its solution. Among broadcasters, the company’s clients include Star TV, Zee Network and Zeo TV Network of Pakistan, while it has signed up with IOL Broadband Ltd, which provides technology for Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd’s IPTV (Internet protocol television) service in the country.
“We are India’s first digital television and radio programming guide and we hope to have the first-mover advantage in the space,” said Atul Phadnis, chief executive officer, South Asia, Media E2E.
Digital programming guide is a new segment globally, and there are not too many players in the space. In 2005, BBC Broadcast had acquired Broadcast DataServices, a television listings and electronic programme guide (EPG) data supplier, in a multi-million dollar deal.
Media E2E also plans to venture into markets outside India. “Most of the broadcast platforms are getting digital. It is an opportunity for us to tap the growing market,” said Phadnis. Media E2E is already present in China.
Zipazap.com provides detailed and real-time information on TV channel listings such as timings, programme and film descriptions, star casts and even recommendations.
The company aims to make this service available to consumers through multiple platforms such as television, mobile phones and other interactive digital platforms.
Initially, the service will target an estimated 80 million cable and satellite TV audiences who also have a mobile handset. At present, around 350 channels are beamed across Indian skies and these channels air approximately 30,000 shows a week.
“This renders it very difficult for consumers to track all channels and the programmes. Our service will help consumers simplify their TV viewing,” said Phadnis. The company estimates that by 2009, the number of television channels will double to 700 and there will be a greater need for services such as Zipazap.
“Media E2E has brought in international best practices and depth into client understanding through their services. With their instant turnaround time for any query, it has boosted our company’s revenues too,” said Faizan Mubarak, senior manager, corporate affairs, Zeo TV Network.
The company is also in talks with several telecom operators to provide its service on their IPTV platforms. It has already signed deals with Bharti Airtel Ltd and MTNL’s Time Broadband Services Pvt. Ltd in this regard. Zipazap operates through the Internet and mobile wireless access protocol.
Meanwhile, Media E2E, which came into existence in 2005 with the help of a consortium of angel investors, is talking to several private equity players for raising funds for its expansion and the launch of new services.
The company plans to sell up to 20% of its stake to gear up its existing business and enter new services in the broadcast space. It has already formed an alliance with Wipro Technologies, Vistaar Technologies Inc. and Persistent Systems Pvt. Ltd to provide solutions such as revenue management, pricing applications and customized software used by media companies.
Phadnis, an ex-TAM India vice-president, started his career with Rediffusion-DY&R (now TME) in media planning and later joined HTA (now Mindshare). Later, he worked with Starcom Worldwide and TAM Media Research, the Mumbai-based television audience research company.