Airtel DTH ad misleading, Tata Sky tells ASCI

The Consumer Complaints Council of ASCI has concluded that Airtel’s advertisement is misleading, as the viewer of the TV commercial is led to believe that Airtel Digital TV has superior picture quality because of MPEG4 or DVBS2 technology

Direct-to-home (DTH) television services provider Tata Sky has approached the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) seeking action against its competitor Airtel Digital's ad campaign, alleging that the advertisement was misleading, reports PTI.

The campaign 'Dil Titli', starring Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan, was launched in August 2009 by Bharti Airtel's DTH subsidiary and the ad claimed that the service provided superior picture quality because of Moving Picture Experts Group-standard 4 (MPEG4) and Digital Video Broadcasting-Satellite-Second Generation (DVBS2) technologies.

"We are trying to convince the media and the public at large that the claim that MPEG4 technology provides superior picture quality is false. It is just a compression technology and makes no difference to the picture quality," said Tata Sky chief marketing officer Vikram Mehra.

The ASCI, in a reply to Tata Sky's complaint, said, "As per their (Consumer Complaints Council - CCC) decision, the complaint has been upheld as the advertisement contravened Chapter 1.4 of the ASCI code. The CCC concluded that the advertisement is misleading, as the viewer of the TV commercial is led to believe that Airtel Digital TV has superior picture quality because of MPEG4 or DVBS2."

When contacted, an Airtel Digital spokesperson said, "We did receive some correspondence from ASCI and we have responded to that. Our stand is that MPEG4 and DVBS2 are some of the many features that we offer, that helps us offer superior picture quality in comparison to ordinary technology."

ASCI is a self-regulatory organisation of the advertising industry and deals with consumer and industry complaints against advertisements.

MPEG-4 is a patented collection of methods defining compression of audio and visual (AV) digital data, while DVB-S2 is a second generation standard directed to optimise satellite transmission and reception of digital content.

DTH operators in the country use different compression technologies ranging from MPEG2 to MPEG4 to provide digital television signals to consumers through satellite. Compression technologies determine a service provider's number of channels to consumers, but have no impact on video quality.

Airtel Digital, which was launched in October 2008, now has pan-Indian operations.


Business hotels are hoping to ring in the good times

Business hotels are hoping to ring in the good times with more travellers demanding 'smart hotels' with prompt service and good communication systems sans the luxury frills

With the industry gradually emerging from recession, business hotels are hoping to ring in the good times with more travellers demanding "smart hotels" with prompt service and good communication systems sans the luxury frills, reports PTI.

"The forecast is very encouraging. We can expect a steady increase in occupancy level for the year ahead and can see a 20% growth from the third quarter.

Business travellers are looking for smart hotels with prompt service standards and good communication levels. Luxury is not the major concern for a large number of travellers,” said Mr Rupam of Radha Regency.

Prakash Ryon, corporate general manager, Nandhana Grand Koramangala and Nadhana Hometel, which runs a chain of business hotels, agrees with this view. He said, "We are seeing an uptake of 15% in occupancy compared to last year."

Mr Ryon said that there has been a lot of corporate movement, with recession receding and recovery of the market. "The luxury market and increase in domestic travellers in December also added to (the) numbers,” he said.

"We are seeing corporate negotiations from existing firms which use our hotel for middle management and senior management executives. These corporates are negotiating for our high-end suites now,” he said, while explaining the flow of senior management from five-star hotels to business hotels.

Mr Ryon said that business hotels make sense to corporates as they have begun offering good facilities minus huge cost tags, which include complimentary Wi-Fi facilities, dinner coupons, free pick-up and drop to airports and a more lavish and elaborate breakfast spread.

"The price difference between the upper-end and mid-market segment is around 50%," he said.

Explaining the move towards business hotels, S Raghunath, who handles marketing for India for Electra Polymers (UK) and who is a frequent business traveller, said, "Most travellers are middle management (executives). Hence, business hotels suit our requirements.”

"Nobody has (the) time to go around for a spa or sauna. Basically most businessmen are off for their business meetings by 8am and return late. What they look for is basically the bed and breakfast concept, which is what these hotels offer,” he said.

"Moreover, hotels in India are overpriced with average pricing being around $200, while in Thailand the best hotel room comes at an average of $80,” Mr Raghunath said.

Company guest houses have their own maintenance issues, said Raj Rajkumar, managing director, ADC, whose company has turned to business hotels to lodge overseas customers.

"Company guest houses mean hiring personnel. Keeping such guest houses no longer makes sense on account of high rents, power bills and housekeeping tabs," he said.


Googlle Learning School... And you thought it was from Google?

What's in a name, asked William Shakespeare. In today's context, there are a lot of things in a moniker, especially if your name is similar to that of an Internet giant

Googlle Learning School. I was taken aback by the similarity between the name of this institute and Internet search giant Google. At first glance, I thought that it may be a new initiative by the search engine giant, but on closer look I found that there was no relation between the two.

This learning school Googlle is a training division of CB Online Pvt Ltd, which is located at Bhubaneswar in Orissa. On its homepage, Googlle even had a 'declaration' that reads, "We are (in) no way related to Google Search Engine, neither (do) We want to copy the name or take advantage of that name and the pronunciation of (the) same is different from 'Google'."

What’s funny is that just a few days ago, its website not only had Google’s name, but the logo and even the favicon were a replica of Google’s, in order to trick people into thinking that the online university was somehow related to the real search engine giant.

In its profile, Googlle said, “We love the name and that's why we name our training division in that name. Googlle is not the name of a company, it's only the name of our training department."

What the creators of Googlle seem to be unaware is about the possible lawsuit that may be coming their way. Search engine giant Google is very protective of its trademark and intellectual property rights, and its India office already may be in the process of filing a suit. However, this cannot be confirmed.

Earlier, Moneylife had reported about an ice-candy vendor, who uses a similar design to Google's website for his stall. This vendor even has a website for selling his ice candies (often called as golas in local parlance).


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