Points of View: Is it time for DTH to move beyond pricing?

By Sangeeta Tanwar , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | November 11, 2009
There is a view in the industry that players are attracting viewers to try their services by offering them spacial packages such as movies at x, or y price and so on

After advertising on the price plank to get in as many subscribers as possible, is it time for DTH players to look beyond that strategy?

Tony D Silva
Chief Operating Officer, Sun Direct

& #BANNER1 & #

Though Sun Direct was the third entrant in the industry, we were the pioneers to start with MPEG 4 technology (it enhances picture quality and sound clarity) back in 2007. MPEG 4 became the industry benchmark for the entrants who came in later.

Now, we are at the second-level market play, which is to increase our customer base. Even in the beginning, we never considered price as the prime criteria of communication. Our USP remains the same: innovative packaging, affordable pricing and exclusive content sourcing which enabled us to offer regional content in a national market context and propelled us to the No 2 position in just 22 months.

Dinyar Contractor
Editor, Satellite and Cable TV magazine

DTH subscribers are expected to shell out anything between Rs 450 and Rs 550 for a bouquet of pay channels, which a majority of households are unwilling to pay - they can access content at Rs 200 through cable. Thus, in an industry, which is yet to mature players in their bid to attract subscribers are taking to 'predatory' pricing (selling below price).

DTH players appear to be playing a short-term game by getting on board as many subscribers as possible at the cost of making huge losses.

Each brand has its own take on surviving as it continues to lose money. Since the content is already underpriced, it is highly unlikely that the players will drop prices further. Instead, now they are attracting consumers with value-added services and offers including movie titles at x or y price.

Sandip Mahapatra
VP & Head, Planning, McCann Erickson

The DTH category is trying hard to mirror telecom, with very little control on any of the variables. You are not even bound by the fear of losing your phone number. There's the content and there's the experience interface - the television. Today's wave is an assumed control on the quality of that interface.

The question is what is being priced and why is it priced the way it is. Fifteen years into mobility, pricing is still the plank in some form or another. And has led it to being one of the cheaper mobility markets, anywhere. I'd like to believe the same will be true of DTH.

In a market of oversupply, DTH is a utility and it should behave like one. The more it spoils us with benefits, more wary we become of it.

Vikram Mehra
Chief Marketing Officer, Tata Sky

From zero to over 18 million connections in just five years - the growth of DTH in India has far exceeded expectations. And with more than four million connections, Tata Sky has been at the forefront of this growth.

This growth has come in spite of Tata Sky being more expensive than cable. Our focus always
has been to give TV viewers a viewing experience they have never seen before. We introduced many Pay TV firsts in India: 'first company to launch interactive services, flexibility of packaging, 24x7 call centres, EPG in Hindi, PVR…' and so on.

This helped us drive subscriptions to our service, thus reaffirming our belief that today's subscriber is not necessarily looking for low cost but wants greater value in what she buys.

(Points of View (POV) is a regular column which carries opinions of industry professionals on a current topic of discussion in the advertising, media and marketing industry.)

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