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Dish TV finds a new competitor in Tata Sky

By , agencyfaqs! | In Media Publishing | August 09, 2006
The much awaited Tata Sky, the direct-to-home (DTH) venture of the Tata Group and STAR Network, was officially launched in the Capital on August 8, 2006


The much awaited & #BANNER1 & # Tata Sky, the direct-to-home (DTH) venture of the Tata Group and STAR Network, was officially launched in the Capital on August 8, 2006.

This will be the third DTH venture in the country. The other two players in the market are the Zee Group's Dish TV and Prasar Bharti's DD Direct. Till date, there hasn't been any direct competition between Dish TV and DD Direct as they both air different content. While Dish TV airs all the private satellite channels, DD Direct beams all the Doordarshan channels on its platform. In fact, their markets were also pre-defined. For instance, while Zee concentrated on and has built a strong market in the metros and bigger cities, DD Direct has penetrated the remote areas and villages across the country to a considerable extent in the absence of cable and satellite (C&S) television.

According to Vikram Kaushik, MD and CEO, Tata Sky will have an easy road to success. He says confidently, "Currently, 63 million Indian homes are connected by C&S television, while 47 million homes receive terrestrial television. In addition, there are around 110 million homes which are yet to buy a television set. So, the potential for another player to step in is huge."

Tata Sky will initially offer 55 channels for Rs 200. The one-time installation and activation charges are Rs 3,999. In comparison, Dish TV is available to its viewers for Rs 180 for 75 channels. The installation cost is Rs 3,290, which also includes three months' subscription.

Another point on which Tata Sky lags behind is in that it doesn't have the Zee bouquet of channels on its network. According to senior executives at Tata Sky, negotiations are on to acquire this bouquet. Dish TV scores here as well because it already has the STAR bouquet of channels on its platform.

Kaushik of Tata Sky claims that the biggest differentiator for Tata Sky will be its interactive services.

However, a price war may start as Tata Sky hopes to lower its installation charges when hardware costs become economical.

Answering queries as to whether a subscriber of Dish TV could switch on to Tata Sky, Kaushik said, "Government regulations ensure interoperability, but the viewer will have no access to the interactive and value added services we provide once he switches his service provider."

Tata Sky has tied up with LG, ITC (through its e-choupal initiative) and Indian Oil for distribution. The distribution process will be backed by its multilingual call centres at Pune, Hyderabad and Chandigarh and 3,000 trained field service engineers, who will provide customer service across India. Tata Sky has appointed Rediffusion as the creative agency and Maxus as the media agency.

Kaushik says that 225 distribution outlets are already in place throughout the country and these will tie up with 10,000 outlets in the top three cities of India by the end of this month.

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