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Eyeing bigger subscriber pie, DTH players shower schemes
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Mumbai: With the war in the direct-to-home (DTH) sector escalating, players are going for the kill this festive season. Dish TV, Sun Direct, Tata Sky, Airtel and BIG TV have launched offers to attract new customers—and thus expand the subscriber base.

Industry sources say DTH has 16.5 million subscribers and with these offers, the sale of DTH products is expected to grow by 20-25% this season. Last year, when the number of subscribers was around 7.5-8 million, the festive season saw a growth of 75%.

Market leader Dish TV, for instance, is offering all channels at Rs 1,990 for three months with assured cash back of Rs 1,000 to every tenth customer. The catch is it is a limited period offer and was launched from September 19.

Salil Kapoor, COO, Dish TV, said: “We are introducing an offer under which our customers will enjoy the largest bouquet of 185 channels at Rs 125.” Dish TV enjoys a current subscriber base of 5.8 million and expects to touch around 7.5 million by end 2009.

Not to be left behind, Tata Sky, the joint venture between Tata group and Star, has announced a special festive offer for all existing and new subscribers on the purchase of Tata Sky Plus. As part of this offer, subscribers can now buy Tata Sky Plus at a price of Rs 4,999, half the original price. The offer coincides with the first year celebrations of the Tata Sky Plus service and is available till Diwali.

Since launch of Tata Sky Plus, the company has spent over Rs 25 crore on promotion and marketing, while the investment on the Tata Sky project is around Rs 2,500 crore.

Vikram Kaushik, MD and CEO, Tata Sky said, “We realised that the personal video recorder (PVR) in Tata Sky Plus has a huge impact on our customers and so we decided to introduce an exciting offer for them. PVR allows recording, pausing and rewinding of television programmes and Tata Sky is the only direct-to-home service provider in India who is offering the feature for its subscribers.”

Sun Direct, a dominant player in the south, is also aggressively repositioning its festive package where a new connection can be bought at Rs 990 for nine months. Customers are entitled to a three-month subscription on this.

Reliance BIG TV has also come up with a slew of offerings, including a Silver pack of Rs 1690 with three months free subscription that has additional 22 new channels to its platform. Customers can also avail of the new top-up packs for a longer duration.

Meanwhile, Airtel DTH has introduced a special Durga Puja offer at Rs 1,790 with 131 popular channels for a limited period valid in West Bengal only. Videocon, the latest entrant in the DTH platform, will be launching new offers next week for the north, central and western region.

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