The curious case of channel bills

Techies Nithin Devireddy and Sandeep Vaddireddy found a solution to the complex billing system and today their company inspires startups in these TRAI-ing times

Published: 24th May 2019 08:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th May 2019 08:14 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD : Considering most phone calls to our local Direct To Home (DTH) provider ends with a threat on the lines of, ‘No, I don’t want to do anything with your company as you have been charging me for the channels that I have never watched,” it seems like a great idea to have a streamlined software that can resolve these day-to-day channel and billing issues. That’s exactly what went in the minds of two techies – Nithin Devireddy and Sandeep Vaddireddy who put their brains together to create a software that understands the usage of the end user and helps generate the right bill. 

When the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) issued a new tariff order with different packages, customisable by TV viewers, the broadcasters, Multi-System Operators (MSOs) and local cable operators (LCOs) had to adapt their systems to new tariff order.

This could be done without much difficulty. But the real challenge was billing. This is where the clients of our firm ITP Software India Pvt Ltd felt immensely happy for Ezybill, our billing and subscriber management software, which was upgraded and optimised and integrated by February-end of 2019 as per the guidelines of TRAI.

Even the teething troubles could be eliminated before the actual transitioning into the new tariff order, as the TRAI had extended the deadline for the transition up to March 31, 2019,” says Nithin, sitting in his office at Madhapur. Ezybill is an enterprise solution that offers Subscriber Management System, Billing & CRM to various platform providers (DTH, DTT, IPTV, OTT, ISPs) across the globe. 

ITP, incidentally, is a bootstrapped startup which has achieved break even in three years of its setting up, what with the patronage by scores of MSOs. The enterprise software of ITP is offered in the SaaS (software as a service) model, thus charging the clients only for the service offered on a monthly subscription basis.

It began with just five employees and they aim to touch 150 employees this year. Nithin was the distributor for ESPN-STAR and that’s where his knowledge of the TV software comes from. “Our spouses have been friends since their childhood. That brought us together. Then we thought we should do business together. Thus ITP Software has begun its journey. Nitin drives the growth of the business, while I take care of technology,” said Sandeep. They invested `75 lakh eight years ago to start this venture.

Helping us understand how it works, Nithin explains, “Suppose you buy a combo pack of kids channels from your Cable TV operator or an a la carte of channels and package them for your own requirements, or let the system choose the Best Fit Plan for you based on your usage pattern. Eventually, you want to add sports channels during World Cup season. As soon as you ask your operator, the service is enabled. How does this work? Your TV used to play all channels irrespective of your choice just with the help of a cable connection. But this became passé.

Now, you choose the menu of genres and specific channels. The TRAI has made it mandatory for all broadcasters to categorise the genres of channels – like kids, sports, general entertainment channels, movies, etc. This enables a viewer to choose what he wants to watch and pay only for them. Over 2.5 crore (25 million) households are served by the billing solution offered by ITP to its clients.” 

“How are the channels which are not preferred by the end user barred and the services restricted? It is the Conditional Access System (CAS), a technology that acts as a regulator in the system. So, the billing for the users is in such a way that it allows some channels to be aired and restricts the others. Sandeep adds: “Ezybill offers converged billing, the quick launch of new services, partner management and settlements and multi-room concept.” He said that the installation and deployment teams of ITP worked at different client locations in cases of very large clients and from remote location in case of other. “We hold 85 percent of market share in South India 20 million-plus subscribers with 200-plus customers,” Nithin informs, sounding hopeful about the future.  

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