OpenTV has announced a licence agreement with the largest cable and satellite operator in India, based on a new subscription business model aimed at delivering a recurring revenue stream for the software and services company.

The agreement with Essel Group, a diversified media and communications company, represents the entry of OpenTV into the Indian pay television market.

“With nearly 17% of the world’s population, a fast-growing economy, and a middle class that has tripled in size in the last twenty years to some 300 million, the Indian market represents a tremendous opportunity for OpenTV and reinforces our strong market position in the Asia Pacific region and globally,” said Jim Chiddix, the chief executive of OpenTV.

The deal is based on a subscription model under which OpenTV will receive monthly payments for each active set-top box for as long as it remains in service. “We believe that this business model offers us more of a recurring revenue stream and should provide us with a better opportunity to increase our revenues in line with those of our customer’s growing subscriber base,” said Jim Chiddix.

The multi-year licence agreement covers a variety of advanced interactive television services, including electronic programme guides and personal video recorders.

Essel Group expects to provide interactive services initially to customers of Dish TV, the first direct-to-home satellite television service in India, with over a million subscribers. Similar services are subsequently expected to be deployed to subscribers of Siticable, as it converts its cable systems to digital.

“Partnering with OpenTV will enable Dish TV to offer our growing subscriber base an exceptional television viewing experience unlike any other in the region, with multi-camera viewing, gaming, interactive channels, PVR, and push video-on-demand,” said Jawahar Goel of Essel Group. “It also allows us to further accelerate Siticable’s aggressive plans to provide similar compelling and interactive digital services to its cable networks in time for the Commonwealth Games in 2010.”