Doordarshan is all set to promote its direct-to-home venture from August 15, 2004. Sensing this, Dish TV – India’s first DTH television broadcaster, is sprucing up its services. The service provider has tied up with one of its group companies, Intrex India, to provide quick and easy payment solutions to consumers.
Intrex India, an Essel Group company, launched ITZ Cash in September 2003 as India's first multi-purpose pre-paid card for online shopping, buying Internet connection packages, making payments for online courses, making international calls through voice over IP and playing paid online games.
Making this partnership, Dish TV enables its consumers to pay for Dish TV installation and monthly subscription online. Dish TV dealers have been using ITZ Cash since the last three months. Deals worth Rs 15 to 18 lakh go thru ITZ cash cards every day. ITZ Cash cards are available across the country through 88 Asian Sky Shop franchisee network, 3,500 Playwin retailers, 4,000 Dish TV dealers and Indiatimes shopping portals.
With this tie-up Dish TV gets a single platform for all payments from consumers across the country. It will also give an easy and quick accessibility to consumers. Those who pay through ITZ Cash can get their Dish TV hardware installed within few hours of payment. This move will also give Dish TV a larger slice of the rural and semi-urban markets, as ITZ Cash is available across the country.
In India, out of 85 million television households, cable and satellite penetration is only 42 million. As per the industry estimates, the cable and satellite will reach 53 million homes by 2006. By 2010, it is estimated that there will be more than 94 million C&S households making India one of largest cable TV market in the world.
With a tough competition between three strong entities – Reliance, which has recently expressed its potential in India’s highly, fragmented market, as did the Tata Group and STAR TV, which together constitute another interested party in this emerging fight for last mile ownership and Zee’s Dish TV, which plans to expand its market share by tie-ups with its group companies, Agrani, Siticable and Intrex India. With such aggressive players vying for the largest share in this 42-million-household-strong market, the Rs 7,000-crore cable television market gets set for an interesting ride in 2004.
With DD, viewers will get free-of-cost access to 40 channels, including 14 DD channels, three of the Union Human Resource Development ministry and 23 private channels, including Aaj Tak, Headlines Today, Raj TV (Telugu and Tamil), Sun TV, and Alpha Bangla. The private broadcasters have been contracted to be on the DD platform for two years. DTH reception requires a dish costing Rs 3,000.