Tata Sky - Reaching for the skies

By Anushree Bhattacharyya, Devina Joshi and Ashwini Gangal , afaqs!, New Delhi and Mumbai | In Advertising | February 07, 2011
Last year turned out to be a pretty 'Jhingalaala' year for DTH player Tata Sky. Starting from January and going right up to the end of the year, the brand rolled out announcements and innovative advertising (its creative agency is Ogilvy India) campaigns.

Last year turned out to be a pretty 'Jhingalaala' year for DTH player Tata Sky. Starting from January and going right up to the end of the year, the brand rolled out announcements and innovative advertising (its creative agency is Ogilvy India) campaigns.

The year began with the brand's Tata Sky+ offering at the price point of Rs 5,999. This was followed by the brand's 'Cold War Campaign' that ran to promote Tata Sky+ as a tool to the rescue for the battle of the remote during the IPL season. In June 2010 Tata Sky launched its high-definition (HD) products; this was timed to coincide with the FIFA World Cup and Wimbledon.

July was special in a different way. Tata Sky broke its touching education-centric 'Badalte India Ke Badalte Classrooms' Campaign, comprising interactive services that help viewers learn via Tata Sky. Brand ambassador Aamir Khan, brought on board in 2008, featured in this campaign. Popularising interactive services on television, Tata Sky covered a gamut of areas, with special focus on educational services through applications such as Actve Wizkids, Actve Stories, Actve Learning and Actve English.

Wizkids is designed for preschoolers. It has learning games and stories that let children enjoy their favourite stories on television. Actve Learning lets the viewer take daily quizzes covering Mathematics, Science and General Knowledge while Actve English helps viewers improve their English-speaking skills. The TV campaign was supported by extensive outdoor promotions.

This initiative, that invented a new way of learning on TV in 10 lakh Tata Sky households, served to take the brand's earlier Actve English initiative forward. First broken in January 2010, this had aimed at enhancing conversational English skills amongst Indians, particularly housewives who, as per consumer research and insights, were found to harbour insecurities while speaking in English. It was also found that a majority of them lack the time and confidence to join a coaching centre.

A development that helped the brand further its educative offering was when Turner International India and Tata Sky came together to form a strategic content partnership. As part of the association, Turner had its linear branded block from its kids' channel, Cartoon Network (CN) made available on Tata Sky. This partnership gave Tata Sky subscribers access to CN+ daily from 6:00 am to midnight. CN+ linear branded block is part of Tata Sky's Actve services, which comes at a cost of Rs 30 per month.

In August 2010, the brand launched its 'Once-a-year Subscription Holiday' plan popularised by the Milkman Campaign in which Khan puts forth the question, 'Why pay for DTH while away on a vacation?' to viewers. This was the first time in the DTH industry when once-a-year subscription holiday plans were introduced such that subscribers could temporarily discontinue services for a maximum of 15 days, once every year.

In September, a pre-Diwali price drop offering was conveyed when Tata Sky was made available at Rs 999 - the USP was the fact that no conditions applied. October upped the party mood when Tata Sky's TruChoice Packages were launched. These allowed customers to customise their channel combination such that the subscriber could get started on any of the Popular Packs (including two free regional racks) beginning at Rs 150 per month, after which he/she could add channels from a bouquet of Optional and Regional Packs.

Optional Packs comprise genres such as Hindi movies, music, English news, kids, etc, while Regional Packs comprise language channels such as Marathi, Bengali, Tamil or Gujarati. A couple of fascinating ads featured Khan in the garb of a pesky salesman and that of an annoying barber.

Tata Sky underwent a change in top-level management as Harit Nagpal moved in from Vodafone and took over as managing director. He stepped into the shoes of Vikram Kaushik, who had been with the group since 2004 and led Tata Sky to emerge as a strong DTH brand since its inception.

According to Vikram Mehra, chief marketing officer, Tata Sky, giving maximum value to a subscriber for every rupee spent has been the brand's motto since its launch. "Year 2010 took this promise forward," he says, adding, "The brand is not just about smart advertising, it's also about the product living up to it promise and commitment of delivering value and superior content. It's always about convenience for the consumers and customer-centric propositions based on strong consumer insights." Everything that Tata Sky did seemed to work. For instance, the brand's new gaming application (with Hungama) is a new innovation that, within the first 15 days, got over 40,000 subscriptions.

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