Dish TV targets another three million subscribers in 2009

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | January 20, 2009
The DTH player is also talking with Indian Railways to provide in-train entertainment for passengers


TV has its eye on adding another three million subscribers in fiscal 2009.

The company recently held a press meet to announce a special free recharge offer for its subscribers. Speaking to afaqs! on the occasion, Salil Kapoor, chief operating officer, Dish TV, says, "The goal is to add another three million consumers to our existing subscriber base of five million consumers. We will invest close to Rs 600 crore to acquire new customers and strengthen our existing service network."

At present, Dish TV has 12 transponders and Kapoor claims that it has a competitive edge when it comes to bandwidth and accommodating more channels. As of now, Dish TV offers 250 channels and aims to increase the offering to include 450 channels. With the increased demand for bandwidth, there is pressure on this scarce resource and this works out to Dish TV's advantage, for, given its carrying capacity, it can maintain exclusivity when it comes to content.

In order to provide a wider choice to viewers, Dish TV will focus on width and depth of content. Kapoor explains, "Width refers to the number of channels that we are offering and depth to the genres or the languages in which the content will be made available. The effort is to provide varied fare, covering maximum genres in multiple languages."

Hindi film actor Shah Rukh Khan is the face of the brand and his stature and mass appeal help the brand establish a distinct, clutter free image in the market.

Dish TV is also working on its distribution network. It is looking at increasing the existing number of exclusive Dish TV dealers or Dish TV experience zones from 500 to 750. Besides this, Dish TV equipment is also being stocked by dealers who retail multiple brands.

Without sharing the details of the costs involved in acquiring a single consumer and footing the high subsidy on this count, Kapoor explains that the customer premises equipment (CPE) entails absorbing subsidy on three counts - the cost of the equipment, dealer commission and marketing expenses on adding subscribers. However, the breakeven cost for each subscription varies from package to package.

The DTH provider is also talking with Indian Railways to introduce entertainment services in trains similar to those that it is currently providing to Kingfisher Airlines. The tender process is on and finer details related to routes and the number of screens to be introduced in specific trains are being worked out.

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