Dish TV’s DTH service is no longer happy being in rural and cable dark areas. The way Zee was buying programming at MIP TV and the distribution tie-ups it was getting into, made one do a double take.
Imagine rural India watching FTV! However, they were not really meant for this TG – or at least aimed at them.
Did Dish TV have a change of heart and decide to move from cable dark areas to the urban milieu where C&S has its wings well spread? As per Ashish Kaul, Vice President, Corporate Brand Development, it is a move in the right direction. He states, “Rural markets are very large and they are quite neutral as well, as for them their only exposure to entertainment has been Doordarshan. Now, it is logical for us to move into urban landscape for the business opportunity due to the sheer size of cable-rich homes.”
One is intrigued. Is there any global learning that indicates whether DTH works better in urban or rural areas? And, which SECs comprise the prime target group for DTH? Replies Kaul, “DTH in itself brings a distinction being a subscription driven system. Whereas it is a premium service for SEC A, B and one could see it freely moving into SEC C as well depending on the geographic needs.” And this is perhaps what Dish TV is betting on. It would be interesting to watch whether the price conscious Indian consumer would move from C&S to DTH in search of better quality and perhaps wider choice.
As reported earlier, Dish TV had plans to increase the number of channels on its platform in two months. It is believed that tie-up with the new channels would be an exclusive DTH tie-up. Plan has been to take the number up to 108. “We are increasing the numbers to 108 by second quarter of this year and these channels are for DTH platform,” confirms Kaul.
With the impending launch of other DTH services, which, by and large, are likely to have an urban focus, for instance, Space TV, one feels that urban markets would be more difficult to crack. How does Dish TV expect to differentiate itself from the other players in the space? “The difference has already been made as we have successfully tested the rural market and managed over one lac subscribers sans a commercial launch. In absence of any competition we hope to have a first mover advantage in urban areas as well. Ultimately it is the number that matters,” elucidates Kaul.
Referring to the cost structures, he says: “Plans are afoot to introduce a new pricing strategy in May-June this year to complement the launch of new channels with which we have tied up.” However, whether the pricing strategy for urban or rural areas would be same or different remains to be seen.
The international channels that Dish TV has tied up with include Eurosport News (sports news specific channel), Fashion TV, Trace by MCM (English music channel), Malibu TV (nature sports channel) and Platinum TV (lifestyle focused channel). All these channels clearly have a very up-market skew and emphasise the SEC that is now likely to be Dish TV’s prime audience. Kaul agrees: “DTH in itself is a premium service and it is only logical to move in the direction of premium content while one continues to enrich the basic bouquet.”
While the general sentiment is that DTH would take more than a couple of years to make a mark in the Indian market and, would never perhaps be able to dethrone C&S networks. Dish TV, however, seems to be moving fast to build on the first mover advantage. Nature of the game as far as DTH goes would be the number and kind of channels a DTH player has to offer — that too at the right price. We need to wait for the round two of DTH play.