Even as Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd chalks out aggressive expansion plans, the leading DTH service provider in South India has appointed McCann Erickson as its creative agency following a multi-agency pitch that saw the participation of 4-5 top agencies in the country. Sun Direct has earmarked a marketing budget of Rs 120 crore to complement its aggressive expansion plans beyond its forte – South India.
The development has been confirmed by Tony D’Silva, Chief Operating Officer, Sun Direct. He said, “Whatever campaigns we have done so far in the South were done in-house. As the business expands, it becomes more and more difficult to do things in-house and, therefore, we have signed on McCann Erickson as our creative agency.”
He further said, “We have set aside a marketing budget of Rs 120 crore, but if we need to spend more, we will do that.” For the agencies that had taken part in the pitch process, the only criteria for disqualification was anybody already dealing with a DTH platform. Elaborating on the factors that went in MaCann Erickson’s favour, D’Silva said that the agency had very strong base in the South and that there were only a very few agencies which had a strong set-up in the South.
When quizzed about which office of McCann Erickson would be handling the account, D’Silva replied that the account would be handled out of the Chennai branch. He, however, added, “But like every agency, they too have partners and branches in different cities, and I guess they can tap into their own talent and give us the best they can.”
“In the next 45 days, we will be launching our service in Assam, Orissa and West Bengal,” D’Silva informed.
At a time when DTH service rates were perched high, the 80:20 joint venture between the Kalanidhi Maran family and the Astro Group of Malaysia brought it down through innovative packaging in South India. In eight months’ time, Sun Direct zoomed to touch 1.3 million subscriber number offering a DTH connection for Rs 1,999 (Rs 1,000 one time installation charge and Rs 999 as annual subscription) for all popular channels.
Sun Direct also adopted the advanced MPEG4 technology offering better compression and signal quality, while Tata Sky and Dish TV are still on MPEG2 technology. Unlike its flagship television business, which is largely restricted to the South, the Sun Network, it seems, is determined to spread its wings.