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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Dish TV eyes biggest pie of digital switch

This story first appeared in DNA Money edition on Friday, February 3, 2012.

Dish TV India, the country’s top direct-to-home (DTH) player, is gearing up to garner the maximum share of subscribers who would migrate to digital from analogue cable television in the four metros before June, the deadline for the switchover.

Industry experts say about seven million homes are likely to make the switch (from analogue to digital cable) in Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi and Chennai, thereby opening up a potential market of 10 million new subscribers (homes with multiple television sets) for DTH and cable TV operators.

Of the six DTH players in the country, Dish TV India, the biggest, is optimistic of garnering a giant’s share of the new subscribers.

RC Venkateish, CEO, Dish TV India, said since digital cable has considerable presence in the four metros, close to 60% of the new subscriber base will be tapped by the DTH players.

“We expect to get anything between 26% and 28% of the new subscriber base that will switch from analogue to digital,” he said.

The Dish TV management has been working on this by readying the infrastructure to meet the surge in demand and will be pursuing it aggressively through above-the-line (ATL) and below-the-line (BTL) ad spend in the coming months. A new promotional campaign featuring film actor Shah Rukh Khan is on air.

In another technological innovation in the DTH industry, Dish TV has introduced a new product that offers unlimited recording capacity.

Christened Dish truHD+, the high definition (HD) box is being offered at no extra cost and will be sold at the price of existing box.

Salil Kapoor, chief operating officer, Dish TV India, said the unique feature of this box is its compatibility with any universal serial bus (USB) flash drive or hard disk drive (HDD).

“The new HD box comes with a software upgrade that allows consumers to simply plug-n-play an existing USB stick or HDD and builds an entire library of their favourite programmes. While most DTH operators charge a premium for their digital video recorders (DVRs), our idea is to expand the DVR market by making it accessible at the price of a normal HD box,” he said.

Dish truHD+ has a dual advantage of all HD and DVR features and the price includes the new box, along with one month Dish truHD Royale Pack.

As part of the promotional offer, Dish TV will provide a four gigabyte USB flash drive free.

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