July 13, 2006 (LBO) – A new Sri Lankan satellite channel took wing Thursday, with plans to tap into a captive market of customers who lost out to the recent shut down of local cable operators.
Called Srilakvahini, holding company Future Satcom hopes to beam Sri Lankan programs in Sinhala, Tamil and English as well as regional content around the island and to other countries.
The new satellite television channel can broadcast its programs to Asia, Russia, the Middle East, Europe and African countries, targeting largely Sri Lankan expatriate communities abroad.
The first three months will run on largely Sinhala content like news, dramas, musicals and sports programming, produced locally.
Running on programming produced by its own production house, the company is also exploring tie ups with other content providers from Sri Lanka and the region.
“The main feature about this channel is that it is ‘free-to-air’, and so will not require any monthly subscription, but a one time investment for the necessary equipment by the users,” Rohan Welivita, Chairman of Future Satcom, told journalists on Thursday.
Future Satcom has tied up with Taiwan based tech company Data Video Corporation for equipment, costing between 10,000 to 20,000 rupees plus installation, for customers.
“This will facilitate complete coverage of Sri Lanka through a down link system via a satellite receiver disk,” Nalin Attygalle, Director Operations and International Marketing, said.
The company says it has all the necessary licence approvals from the Telecom Regulatory Commission, the Media Ministry and the Ministry of Defence.
About 1000 people have signed up for the new service already, but a ready market of potential customers could come from elsewhere.
“In the current context, there are a lot of people who have purchased equipment already and are now unable to use it. Market data shows that there are already about 25,000 customers who have this equipment, so there is a captive market already,” Attygalle said.
Three cable operators were recently shut down by the government over allegations of improper licensing, with the battle going through courts.
The first test transmission is to take place before the end of July, after which it will be rolled out to users.
Transmission is to be expanded in a second phase, about six months from now, to cover the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
Future Satcom is the holding company for Srilakvahini as well as production house Fine Vision, SriLak Entertainment and trading and business arm Sattronic.
Friday, July 14, 2006
New Sri Lankan satellite channel takes off, beaming to the region
Posted by TV & Radio Sri Lanka at 7/14/2006 12:36:00 PM