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Now, TV on Shatabdi Express

Ashish Sinha & Animesh Singh  |  New Delhi 

Railways to introduce touch-screen TVs for individual seats.
Having lost market share to low-cost airlines, the railway ministry plans a major upgrade of entertainment in its Shatabdi Express coaches.
These upscale inter-city trains will soon have flat-panel television touch-screens on each seat, equipped with head-phones offering passengers options of "live" and pre-recorded entertainment and movie channels.
As part of its pilot project, the Northern Railway has invited bids from media and entertainment companies for television equipment and other acoustic support in 91 coaches of eight Shatabdi trains originating from New Delhi.
The ministry is already working with private companies for offering WiMax services (faster Internet services) on select trains.
For the "infotainment" (news-cum-entertainment) services, the ministry has kept a reserve price of Rs 2.31 crore for the first year, while the licence will be awarded for a five-year period.
Leading media and entertainment companies like Adlabs and Dish TV were said to be in the fray, sources said.
"The railways will not invest in this project. The media companies will have to share a part of revenue with the railways," a senior Northern Railway official told Business Standard.
Under the tender terms, the selected media companies will have advertising rights on the Shatabdis in lieu of the escalating licence fee during the five-year period.
A Northern Railway official said since this was a new venture for them, the media companies would be asked to give presentations on the programmes they would show.
According to senior executives of Dish TV, the Direct-to-Home (DTH) venture of the Zee Group, the company has been in talks with the ministry for installing Dish TV receivers on Shatabdi trains.
"We want to be present everywhere. We are present on Kingfisher Airlines 30,000 feet above the ground and are experimenting with providing Dish TV on cars and trains," Jawahar Goel, managing director of Dish TV, recently told Business Standard.

First Published: Mon, August 27 2007. 00:00 IST