Nisha Qureshi

Convenience, price, and technology: How DishTV Smart+ aims to democratise digital entertainment

Dish TV’s latest initiative seeks to strengthen the retention and market share of the brand.

Dish TV, an established DTH provider has announced the launch of its ambitious proposition ‘Dish TV Smart+’  to unify streaming platforms with linear television. With the ‘Dish TV Smart+’ service, all Dish TV and D2H customers, including new as well as existing subscribers can enjoy popular OTT apps along with their chosen TV subscription pack.

According to the brand, this is not just a service but rather an entire ecosystem that it is bringing into the entertainment space. 

Competition and not collaboration

According to the Performance Indicator Report, from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, (TRAI), the total active subscriber base for pay DTH decreased by 2.06% from 66.62 million in December 2022 to 65.25 million in March 2023.

Just a few years ago, TV channels as well as DTH and cable TV operators were worried about the fast growth of OTT entertainment in India. Today we see that TV networks have come up with their own OTT platforms, meanwhile, DTH operators are acting as aggregators.

Asked how he sees the media landscape evolving in India, Manoj Dobhal, CEO of Dish TV, explains that there is a need for collaboration and not competition. “It is human nature to see anything new as threatening, we see it as disruption. However, the future is not about competing with content but about provisioning complementary content.

“We have been in the aggregation business for more than two decades, this is just a new platform for us to aggregate from. We have seen that in the last four to five years, consumers have been moving out of DTH. There was a need to identify where the customers were moving. We realised that some of them are going for Freedish because they don’t want to be charged and the others are moving to OTT. So we have a product on both sides of the spectrum.”

What exactly is Dish TV Smart+?

Sukhpreet Singh, emphasised the transformative nature of 'Dish TV Smart+', stating, "DISH TV India Limited is, from today onwards, no longer about television, it is about entertainment, on any screen, anywhere, anytime."

What the service promises is that all Dish TV and D2H customers, whether new or existing subscribers, can gain access to popular OTT apps alongside their ‘chosen TV subscription pack’. This move not only eliminates the need for multiple subscriptions but also abolishes the additional budgets typically allocated for OTT apps.

Singh explained that all existing Dish TV subscribers will gain access to these services “at no additional cost”. The existing consumers will receive WhatsApp and SMS messages, and the link in the text will take the consumers to the 20 OTT apps that are currently available on the platform. Users can then customise their packs according to their preferences.

However, “Newer consumers will have access to the base pack for Rs 200 if they get a new Dish TV connection,” he explains.

The brand has a number of additional offerings that people may find exciting. For example, for every consumer that chooses that Rs 2,000 pack, will get a cashback of Rs 5,000.

Similarly, the service ensures people to access to the content at convenience through ‘Watcho’ - Dish TV’s entertainment and aggregator app that was launched in 2019.

The brand is also expected to launch several smart devices in the coming months.


Speaking about how exactly the platform wishes to be profitable, Singh states that for 'Dish TV Smart+' the focus is on increased retention and market share.

"Because it is such a powerful proposition, you will have a lot more retention. Secondly, we will have more share in the market on DTH as well as digital,” he says.

“So when our share of the market and our overall renewals and stickiness and retention on the platform increases, monetisation, of course, follows. The second level of monetisation will happen when people upgrade their packs and choose more channels,” Singh explains.

Further, when asked about how the revenues will be shared between them and the OTT players, Dobal explains, “For them (OTTs), this is another source of revenue. They're already doing their D2C and we are not stopping them. With this, they can reach a newer set of consumers who otherwise would not have come on board easily,” he explains.

The brand is using a combination of marketing techniques to reach out to audiences. For existing subscribers, Dish TV will leverage its channels and platforms, employing push notifications, in-app notifications, and emailers. Meanwhile, for new customers, the emphasis will be on TV and digital channels to ensure widespread visibility and awareness of the offering. The brand has further roped in actor Radhika Madan as the brand ambassador.

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