Tata Sky Ltd, the 80:20 joint venture between Tata and STAR network, launched its much-delayed direct-to-home service across 300 cities in India on August 8, 2006. It is offering 55 channels at an introductory price of Rs 200.
Tata Sky will offer subscribers channels from STAR, Sony, Discovery, Disney, MTV, NDTV, ESPN-STAR Sports, National Geographic, Eenadu, TV Today, and Asianet, among others. Tata Sky is offering its set top boxes for Rs 2,999 plus Rs 1,000 as installation cost.
Vikram Kaushik, Managing Director and CEO, Tata Sky, said, “By bringing satellite television directly into Indian homes, Tata Sky is set to change the way viewers watch television – with choice, convenience and control at their fingertips, delivered at a competitive price. We are confident that offering a television service that is second to none, while providing top-of-the-line convenient and efficient customer service to our subscribers throughout every contact point, including sales, service and billing, will set us apart from the competition. We look forward to bringing the magic of Tata Sky to television viewers throughout the country.”
“Though we are launching the service in 300 cities, we are targeting to cover the whole country within three months’ time,” said Vikram Mehta, Head, Consumer Marketing, Tata Sky.
Asked about whether a subscriber of Dish TV could switch on to Tata Sky, Kaushik said, “As per government regulations, interoperability has been ensured, but one will lose the value added services we provide when one switches service provider.”
Kaushik further said that the company was in talks with Zee Telefilms to bring its channels on its platform, but declined to give a deadline by when Zee channels would be available on Tata Sky. Informed sources said that Tata Sky was asking for two bouquets (17 channels) of Zee out of its five bouquets (32 channels), while Zee is insisting on giving all its channels at half the price (Rs 75) of its cable rate.
Elaborating on its ‘Go to Market’ strategy, Kaushik said, “We will focus on demonstrating our product in a major way in shopping malls, airports, high-traffic areas. We will also create experience zones at various cities.”
Tata Sky has set up a pan-India distribution network of popular consumer electronic stores and mobile phone outlets for retailing its hardware and prepaid recharge vouchers. The company has also tied up with LG, ITC International Business Division and Indian Oil Corporation as part of its distribution drive.
It will be responsible for installing and servicing the hardware at every subscriber’s home. The company has engaged a field force of nearly 3,000 people, who will be complemented by 24x7 call centers at Pune, Hyderabad and Chandigarh.
The new DTH player will soon be breaking its 360 degree campaign. Rediffusion has been appointed as the creative agency, while Maxus is the media agency.