DTH in India: Going the mobile way?


I shifted from cable to DTH service in 2008. I had just bought a LCD TV then and the cable didn’t really do any justice to its HD READY feature. The shift was satisfying as far as the viewing pleasure is concerned, but money wise cable was cheaper.

Indian Government now has made it compulsory for all the citizens from the four metros to switch to Digital set top box before November 1. Frankly speaking this news is no news to anyone privy to broadcasting industry’s proposed circulars. This is something that was proposed somewhere around 2008. And according to the latest news, Metros have reached 77% of cable TV digitization.

So now the people who were vary of shifting from cable to DTH due to various factors will now have to shift. And now that it is compulsory in the four metros, other cities and soon the whole country will have to follow suit.

This opens up a whole new market for the DTH service providers. This according to me will lead to a price war akin to the one we saw in mobile service providers after Docomo came into the market. With its really peppy ads taking pot-shots at leading service provides and the holes in the service and the cost, Docomo really soared to great heights. Many followed suit and tried to cash in on ‘inexpensive’ services but none really made it as big as Docomo.


Can this happen with DTH too?

“ Dish TV’s offer, customers will be eligible to receive a basic tier comprising 70 channels free of cost for five years. However, viewers availing themselves of Dish TV’s free offer will have to remain active by subscribing to a regular pack at least twice a year, at a price of Rs 200. Multi-system operators providing cable TV will charge Rs 100 per month for a similar package, as recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai).” – Business Standard.

So considering that Dish TV has started teaser packs to lure the customers, will others follow suit? Of course they will.

The untapped market also includes urban segment of the population that basically thinks that DTH is expensive. Teaser packages and offers on set top box will lead definitely affect the consumers thinking. Since set top box is a onetime investment.

The urban tech-phobic being the second segment which only shuns the box fearing for the cost that will be incurred in case of any problem. In Tata sky if you are subscribed to the MEGA PACK, all the services are free. If such a feature is added on to the other packs, say 3-4 free visits in case of problems will really help.

These two steps will basically cover everything and lure all segments of consumers. Top honchos from various DTH service providers are denying that they will get into a price war. I think it is a load of manure.

Just my ten rupees (adjusted to inflation)

What’s your take?

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