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Paid TV

Airtel Digital TV launches 'free' movie PPV service

Indian direct-to-home (DTH) provider Airtel Digital TV has launched a new film pay-per-view (PPV) platform with a twist, called Freemium PPV.

Blockbusters will be available without charge but with advertisements at pre-scheduled timings on the PPV platform, in a move which the Bharti Airtel-owned company says is to coincide with the hundred years of cinema celebrations around the country.

A free preview of the movie will be available in a 3/4 TV screen with advertisements taking up the remaining quarter of the screen. However, customers can view the film in full screen without ads for a charge of between INR25-INR100.

"We are proud to launch yet another industry first ... Going forward, I am absolutely certain that this will create an all new avenue for movie watching in India," Shashi Arora, chief executive, Airtel Digital TV told the Economic Times.

More channels are expected to follow on the same model, depending on customer demand. Airtel Digital TV had 8.1 million customers as of March 2013.

The Freemium service does not follow a traditional advertisement model, and so does not fall foul of the new advisory from the Indian regulator TRAI to limit television advertisements to less than 12 minutes per hour.

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