in the direct to home (DTH) segment is getting fiercer each day, with Dish TV, Tata Sky, Big TV and Airtel DTH all exerting themselves to increase their subscriber base.
Most of the DTH service providers have used teaser campaigns and TV commercials to convey their brand images. Now, Sun Direct, one of the youngest entrants in Delhi's DTH market, has chosen to be different by relying heavily on outdoor. Sun Direct is a 80:20 joint venture between Kalanidhi Maran's Sun TV and the Astro Group of Malaysia.
Sun Direct launched its services in Delhi on October 22 and one common creative was splashed across all media properties in the Capital for its outdoor campaign. The campaign is impressive for its sheer scale, rather than any innovation.
Sources reveal that Sun Direct has set aside a whopping budget of Rs 15 crore for the outdoor campaign, which will run till the end of January. For now, it has advertised on 150 bus shelters in Central, South and West Delhi, 30 unipoles on arterial routes, 20 public utilities in Ashram, Patel Nagar and Dilli Haat and 41 Delhi Metro stations on different lines.
In addition, mall branding has been done at the Ansal Plaza mall in Delhi and The Great India Place mall in Noida.
Koshy Thomas, regional manager, North, Sun Direct, tells afaqs!, "DTH players are too busy with their brand image. The customers are confused because there are so many brands from which to choose. So, we chose to inform them about our cost effective proposition because that is what they are seeking."
Thomas goes on to explain that on an average, a cable operator in Delhi charges Rs 250-300 every month per subscriber. Sun Direct offers 130 channels for an activation charge of Rs 1,999 (which includes the lifetime activation fee, a free set-top box and a dish) and a monthly charge of Rs 99. The company is targeting viewers in the age group of 18-60 years.
Interestingly, Sun Direct has placed its ads next to those of rival DTH service providers at certain strategic locations. While passing the Ashram flyover towards Lajpat Nagar, one can see a Sun Direct hoarding right next to Dish TV's neon display. Similarly, it has placed another ad on a bus shelter in Sarojini Nagar, close to a bus shelter displaying Airtel DTH's ad, which is using star power to attract attention.
Was this placement of ads done intentionally to move eyeballs away from the competition? Thomas refutes this, saying that Sun Direct only took up media properties that were readily available.
Thomas says, "Bus shelters catch the attention of commuters, who comprise a major chunk of our target viewers. For the Southern markets and Punjab, we have TVCs. For Delhi, where we have just started operations, we chose to rely on outdoor and print."
Sun Direct has the largest subscriber base in South India - 1.5 million. In September, the company kicked off its operations in the Northern and Western markets, including Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, and Gujarat.