India is a TV-addict nation and there have always been some people who have wondered if it was possible to carry their TVs anywhere they want to. Well, as per DTH (direct to home) company Tata Sky, now one can carry the TV in a pocket.
Conceptualised by Ogilvy India, the set of two TVCs showcase the Indian youth who consume content on mobile and aims to spread the message that it is now possible to watch TV from anywhere.
Speaking to afaqs! about the objective behind the campaign, Vikram Mehra, chief commercial officer, Tata Sky, says, "Our consumer research has indicated that people who are travelling, waiting for a meeting or stuck somewhere, use their smartphones to pass the time. First they play games and then they go to video streaming portals. But they often complain that discovery of their favourite content is not that easy on these portals. We wanted to present our consumers a platform where they can consume their favourite TV channel without the hassle of searching extensively."
Tata Sky states that today, over 60 per cent of its subscribers use internet to view videos on their smartphones and tablets either at home or at office. Tata Sky has a subscriber base of 11.5 million customers.
According to the company, called Everywhere TV, the app is a unique service for all those subscribers who want to keep in touch with their favourite shows, programmes and channels that they have subscribed on Tata Sky even when they are on the move, through their mobile handsets.
The service entitles a subscriber to access 54 channels with a monthly payment of Rs 60. This app could be availed by downloading Tata Sky's mobile app from the Apple and Android stores. Everywhere TV will be accessible on 3G and broadband services. Besides live channels, the app also allows consumers to watch previous five days' episodes of shows.
According to Mehra, to cater to its overall consumer demand, Tata Sky has devised products on the three W's principle. The first W stands for 'whichever' and to address that, the DTH platform has all major channels available on a la carte basis so that consumers can take whichever channels they want.
The second W signifies 'whenever' and to address that Tata Sky has a service where people can record their favourite shows even through a mobile app and watch it whenever they get time.
"The final W stands for 'wherever' and the new app addresses that. Now our consumers can watch their TV wherever they want and that is what the TVCs are targeted to convey," adds Mehra.
In the recent past, DTH operators as well as broadcasters have been launching their own mobile app services aiming to reach out to an added user base that consumes content on the mobile phone.
Earlier this month, Zee Group's Dish TV had launched a similar service called DishOnline for Android and iOS. DishOnline subscribers can enjoy TV in four forms - live TV, movies, TV shows and videos. The app is available on two DishOnline packs - the Jumbo Pack priced at Rs 129 and the Starter pack priced at Rs 49.
Besides this, major broadcasters like Sony and STAR India have also launched their mobile app services to present their content on the mobile platform. Recently, MSM's SonyLIV.com had launched a big noise multi-media campaign, inspired by the well-established truth that modern life is all about the little escapes.
Meanwhile, STAR Player from Star India offers content from all shows on the STAR Network channels including Star Plus and Life OK. Also, STAR India's key channel sites like Starplus.in, ChannelV.in and LifeOK.com redirect users to STAR Player to consume content.
There are other online players too, like Zee Group's Ditto TV, Times Internet's Box TV and Digivive's NexGTV which offer TV content on mobile phones and every player in the market is pushing hard to get a share of the mobile consumer pie.
The uphill task
According to Mehra, the primary challenge that a product like Everywhere TV faces is the popularity of the concept. "Our focus is on making the consumer realise that the mobile phone is a more powerful device than the TV. This device gives the consumers one more chance to stay closer to the TV content. The challenge currently is to get this message across among the consumers," informs Mehra.
Besides, even if people like to watch TV when 'on the move', in the present scenario, it won't be affordable given the current 3G tariff, and people opting to use it on their home WiFi networks doesn't really serve the purpose of mobility.
However, since India comprises mainly of single-TV households, people might use the app as an extended TV in the home WiFi networks to watch their favourite programmes. Everywhere TV allows users to connect two mobile devises with one DTH connection.
Besides, public WiFi zones like major airports, railway stations, coffee outlets and luxury hotels might also become major spots where mobile TV services can be accessed in India.
For India's mobile TV market, however, cost of services remains the biggest challenge. Nearly 96 per cent of the country's mobile sector comprises prepaid subscribers who are primarily low-average revenue users and mobile TV services are likely to be adopted by high-end post-paid consumers.
However, such services give consumers more power so they decide the type of content they want to watch and how they want to watch it. This, coupled with the fact that users do not need to subscribe to a separate service, represents an attractive proposition. Such services have proven popular in Japan where mobile TV is free-to-air, and in South Korea where operators offer a mix of pay and free-to-air TV services.