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DTH operators woo customers with lucrative offerings

T he
growing competition and increasing
digitization push, the companies are
now also putting their best foot
forward to woo more subscribers,
while retaining existing ones.
Going by the latest Telecom
Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)
report, almost 34.90 million DTH
subscribers in India are inactive as
against the total registered
subscriber base of 76.05 million till
the quarter ending March 2015. So
while the DTH operators have been
thumping their chests about adding
new subscribers, their constant
effort is channelized towards luring
existing subscribers to stay on. And
one such way to do that is by
launching new products and services.
As the year kicked off with the ICC
Cricket World Cup and Indian Premiere
League (IPL), DTH players got into
overdrive mode early on with
offerings galore. From Tata Sky
launching 4K STBs, Videocon d2h
rolling out a 4K Ultra HD multi genre
channel, Dish TV offering discount
packs, Sun Direct giving away an HD
DVR connection at the cost of an HD
connection on buying Samsung Curve
to Airtel Digital TV’s UHD TV, it has
been the year when DTH subscribers
have been spoilt for choice.
Over the past eight months, different
players have come up with different
strategies to increase subscription as
well as add more active subscribers.
Here’s a lowdown on who did what:

Dish TV

The DTH operator, which had in 2014
created a sub-brand called Zing,
started the year by launching Zing for
the Tamil Nadu market. Dish TV had
introduced the sub-brand to cater to
the specific needs of consumers in
different regions and also give
competition to the cable industry.
Through this, Dish TV offered more
than 145 channels, including 49 Tamil
channels and services in a mere price
of Rs 99 per month. Soon after, the
operator launched Zing for the Kerala
region as well. This time, it gave more
than 150 channels, including 16
Malayalam channels at Rs 99 per
Cashing in on the IPL, Dish TV, which
was one of the sponsors for Kolkata
Knight Riders, introduced a special
Cricket+ package to increase its
subscription revenues as well as the
entertainment quotient.
Dish TV, in order to get the ‘Art of
Living’ lovers onboard launched
Anandam Active to showcase the
teachings of the spiritual guru Sri Sri
Ravishankar. The service was made
available to the subscribers of Dish TV
with a monthly subscription fee of Rs
59 per month.
“It has been our constant endeavour
to make television viewing a
wholesome experience for the entire
family. We have always believed in
offering unique content to our
subscribers,” Dish TV COO Salil Kapoor
had then said.
Soon after, in order to lure music
lovers, Dish TV tied up with Hungama
to launch ‘Music Active Service.’ The
service was launched to enhance Dish
TV’s portfolio in the field of VAS and
music and provide unlimited music to
subscribers. While it launched the
service at an introductory price of Rs
35 till 31 October, it will be priced at
Rs 45 starting 1 November.
The platform has something for
everyone. In order to satiate the
needs of movie lovers, Dish TV
launched its first Home Video System
– DishFlix. With this first of its kind
push VOD service, Dish TV aims to
empower consumers to enjoy
uninterrupted ad-free entertainment.
Through the service, viewers will be
able to pause, play, fast forward and
rewind movies or TV shows at their
own convenience. Another unique
feature is that this service will not
require an internet connection as the
content will be pushed to the
customer’s STB via satellite. The
customers for the service will need a
DishFlix Box, which is priced at Rs
5990 that comes preloaded with 50
movies. Out of these, 15 movies will
be refreshed every month on FIFO
(First in First Out) basis (one new
movie every two days) so that the
viewable movie library is always
updated. The monthly subscription to
Flix studio is Rs 100.

Tata Sky

Tata Sky started its year with the
launch of first 4K STB in India at a
time when the country was preparing
for the biggest cricketing
extravaganza, the ICC Cricket World
Cup 2015. While for the new
subscribers, the 4K box was available
for Rs 6400, existing subscribers
could avail the box at Rs 5900.
Soon after, the DTH operator decided
to disrupt the market by making DTH
connections affordable for its
customers. Keeping this in mind, the
operator launched the ‘Daily
Recharge’ voucher, which empowered
subscribers to pay only for the day
they watched TV at Rs 8. This also
became the smallest denomination of
recharge voucher in the television-
viewing sector globally. Tata Sky’s
aim was to make inroads into untapped
“This initiative elevates the DTH
sector by redefining the pace of
digitization and reach to markets
nationwide,” said Tata Sky MD & CEO
Harit Nagpal at the time of launching
the service.
The latest addition to the DTH
operator’s offering is its new
upgraded STB – Tata Sky+ Transfer,
which will enable users to transfer
the recorded content onto alternative
screens. The new product addresses
the growing consumption of video on
the move, through smartphones,
tablets and other alternative screens.
The new STB, which is priced at Rs
9300 for new subscribers and Rs 7200,
for existing customers, will work on a
Wi-Fi connection.

Videocon d2h

For Videocon d2h, the highlight of
the year has been the launch of the
first 24-hour 4K Ultra HD multi genre
channel in January. The 4K Ultra HD
channel is a content pipe that can
carry multi genre feeds like movies,
video on demand, travel,
infotainment, sports etc provided by
international broadcasters or
independent content providers. The
channel was launched just before the
ICC Cricket World Cup, thus enabling
subscribers to experience the sport in
4K Ultra HD.
In June, the company unveiled its new
initiative aimed at preschool and
elementary school aged children with
the launch of SMART Services. This
comprised value-added bouquet of
learning activities and games available
exclusively to Videocon d2h
subscribers at a subscription rate of
Rs 45 per month. The banner included
Smart Learning, Smart Kids and Smart
Games, all available on subscription

Airtel Digital TV

Airtel Digital TV was the first to
launch indigenously manufactured
STBs, in keeping with Prime Minister
Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’
campaign. The STBs have been made
available in HD and soon all of Airtel
Digital TV’s STBs will be manufactured
in India. These indigenous Airtel
Digital TV HD+ STBs offer features
like – Full HD 1080p support, MPEG-4
video with Dolby Digital Plus Surround
Sound; 5X picture clarity; unlimited
recording (via USB-drive); and USB-
based Wi-Fi connectivity for On-
demand, Anytime TV and Interactive
In order to make available DTH
account details easily, Airtel Digital
TV launched the missed call service
for customers. Through this,
customers can get their DTH account
details on their mobile number by just
giving a missed call on 08130081300.
The service is completely free of cost
for all Airtel Digital TV customers and
provides information regarding
customer ID, balance and validity,
package name, monthly rental, base
package rental, top up rental, last
recharge date and amount and number
of connections to customers on an SMS
within five seconds of the missed call.
The company also rolled out an
innovative and easy to use Self-Care
application for television sets, a
first-of-its kind by a DTH service
provider. A TV replica of the ‘My
Airtel mobile app,’ the Self-Care
enables customers within Airtel Digital
TV HD STBs could easily access their
account details real-time on their TV
sets. The app can be accessed by
connecting the STB to an internet
connection via a LAN cable or with the
help of the newly launched plug and
play Wi-Fi dongle– Airtel Infinity.

Sun Direct

DTH operator Sun Direct wooed its
customers during the two mega
sporting events of the year – the ICC
Cricket World Cup and IPL. The
platform, which believes that events
like these help increase its existing
subscriber base, came up with special
packs during the World Cup and IPL.
While it offered the Star Sports
bouquet on its bestselling Cinema
+Sports pack for the World Cup, it
provided Sony Six, the official
broadcaster for the league free to
new customers in order to incentivize
them during the IPL.
Sun Direct offered the Cinema+Sports
package at Rs 195 per month during
WC and focused on the pack in order to
fulfill the requirements of its
customers, during the cricketing
During IPL, the operator also provided
IPL add-on free for customers, who
recharged beyond six months. That
apart, Sun Direct also came up with an
add-on for Rs 44, which allowed
customers to watch the T20 matches
for the entire duration of the
tournament. “We see the IPL as a
good tool to win back customers and
improve our recharges substantially,”
Sun Direct CEO Mahesh Kumar had
earlier told Indiantelevision.com .
While DTH operators have been putting
their money where the mouth is by
launching innovations as well as
technological upgrades, the fact
remains that close to 45 per cent of
DTH subscribers are inactive in India.
Going by this figure, DTH players will
have to ramp-up their offerings to
ensure that those coming onboard
stay with them on as loyal customers
in the long run.

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