Direct-To-Home in India is finally on its way. At least four DTH delivery platforms and a host of exciting channels are to launch within the next six months. This is not all, the broadcasting sector can expect investments to the tune of Rs 2,500 crore and the channels which will beamed on a DTH platform can rake in millions in annual air-time revenue.
According to industry sources, the broadcasters and the standalone television channels are drawing up plans to launch themselves into what observers have termed the `second wave in Indian television history.’ The first was the cable invasion of the 90s.
Star had hinted at investments to the tune of $400 million towards DTH in India. The company will announce the launch plans soon. The other players who are likely to launch similar platforms include Zee, Sony, Doordarshan and VSNL. According to industry observers, each platform would require a minimum of Rs 500 crore.
The money will go towards programming costs, transponder, uplinking site, hardware and other infrastructure. Marketing, promotions and establishing of subscriber management systems would also need funds. Subscriber management systems enable mapping of the subscriber homes and the delivery of digitally compressed channels.
While the programming costs will be substantial for the DTH platform, the stand-alone channels will be the beneficiaries. Channels like Discovery and Aaj Tak could muster $2 million and Rs 1 crore respectively on an annual basis from the delivery platforms such as the Star and Zee or Sony.
The platforms will not charge the consumer more than Rs 500 per month to start with. Indian platforms will have to subsidize the set-top-boxes for greater acceptance by the cost-conscious consumer. Set-top-boxes will be installed at the consumer’s end to de-crypt the digital signals. Besides, set-top-box, the consumer will have to install a pizza size dish.
The biggest advantage the consumer has is the choice of an alternative where he does not depend on the cable operator for anything.