India’s television distribution market is currently going through a sea change with the government’s mandate on complete digitisation starting with the four metros. Distribution companies including DTH players are aggressively looking at acquiring new customers migrating from analog cable connections. MSOs and cable operators too are alive to the digital opportunity.
Cable operators in markets like Chennai have assured customers that signals won't be cut off until they can provide the set-top-boxes, which are in short supply. As far as DTH players go, the offers seem endless. There are cross promotions too, across categories - a case in point being those on Sun Direct and its promoter-owned airline, Spicejet.
Dish TV has launched a ‘life time free TV’ offer in metros for new subscribers. With the offer, a subscriber will receive 70 free channels for five years, provided he or she does a minimum recharge of Rs 200 every six months.
Explaining the marketing strategy, Anjali Nanda, executive vice president – marketing, Dish TV, said, “Dish TV has a 30 per cent share in the overall DTH market. And our endeavour is to increase that share significantly via aggressive marketing and customer-friendly initiatives.”
On the progress made on the customer acquisition front, she said, “We’ve made good inroads in the four metros. In Mumbai, for example, we’ve seen a growth of subscriber base by five times to what it was three months down the line. In Delhi we’ve seen our numbers grow by three times. And in case of Chennai and Kolkata, we’ve almost doubled our subscriber base. So it’s been a good progress for brand Dish TV."
She added that Dish TV was further looking to increase its subscriber base, particularly in the next two months, when more viewers are expected to make the shift towards the year-end.
For Tata Sky, the marketing strategy is to continue focus on educating prospective customers on the value proposition the brand offers. Commenting on the progress of Tata Sky in this digitisation phase, Vikram Mehra, chief marketing officer, Tata Sky, said, “In the last one month, the demand to get a Tata Sky installed at one’s home has gone up multifold across the four metros. Being one of the most respected and preferred brands among consumers, the growth can be attributed to the overall value for money proposition offered by Tata Sky.”
Tata Sky embarked on a 360-degree marketing plan. The campaign was supported by interactive services, high definition content, recording facility through PVR and other services such as parental lock and hassle-free relocating option. “With set-top box becoming mandatory to watch television, we introduced a special promotional offer across the four metros, where consumers could buy a new Tata Sky Box with an initial down payment of Rs 400 and pay the balance in daily installments of Rs 4 over the next 365 days. So through our overall marketing efforts, we’ve seen a spike in our sales, not just in metros but in smaller towns and cities also,” observed Mehra.
On the progress in non-metros, Mehra informed that over 50 per cent of sales is from smaller towns and cities today, and the number is expected to grow further.
Shashi Arora, chief executive officer, Airtel DTH, said, “The number of customers shifting to digital TV from analog has been witnessing a growing momentum due to the digitisation drive across the country. As a leading DTH player in the industry, Airtel DTH is completely equipped with the requisite infrastructure and inventory to drive customer transitions."
He claimed that Airtel DTH bags 25 per cent of all new customers that join the DTH bandwagon every month.
On the marketing strategy to promote Airtel DTH, Arora explained, “Our core brand value is to enrich the lives of customers and win their trust and commitment with a promise to deliver quality service. In line with this, the marketing initiatives are oriented at communicating the value proposition offered to customers by Airtel DTH. We are currently active on print and radio for the present festive season and we use TV from time-to-time.”