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Level playing field with cable will help direct-to-home industry
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#1
Chennai, Oct. 30 Direct-to-home service provider Sun Direct says a level playing field with cable operators will help grow the DTH industry to a healthy level.

According to Mr Tony D’Silva, Chief Operating Officer, Sun Direct, there are a lot of procedural disadvantages for DTH players.

For example, besides paying 55 to 60 per cent of their gross revenues to broadcasters, DTH players have to pay a licence fee to the Government by way of adjusted gross revenue (which is 10 per cent of gross revenue), whereas cable operators do not have to pay AGR and so many other taxes.

There are about 13-16 million DTH subscribers in India, and the industry size in terms of subscription revenue should be Rs 2,000 crore. Of this, 55-60 per cent goes to the broadcasters. “So, while in reality, 55 to 60 per cent of our gross revenues goes to broadcasters, why should we be levied 10 per cent of gross revenue (as licence fee). Should it not be on net revenues?” he argues. Even there, the AGR for the telecom industry is only 6 per cent. “Why this disparity?” he asks.

“If the Government ensures a level playing field with cable operators, the DTH industry will do a telecom,” says Mr D’Silva.

Despite these hurdles, Sun Direct, the market leader in Tamil Nadu, is growing at a healthy pace. Launched in end 2007, the DTH provider currently has a subscriber base of 4.5 million across the country.

Targeting a 5-million subscriber base, the company has beefed up its distribution network to cover almost every semi-urban and rural area in the country. It is focussing on SEC-B and SEC-C sections with its “effective price-packaging” plans, says Mr D’Silva. As Sun Direct buys channels only on a la carte basis from broadcasters and not as bouquets, it has the luxury of bundling channels for every specific region – going by the viewership ratings.

“Our key marketing strategy is to think regional in the first place. The channel preference of people in each region is very different. And we give them what they want, so that they pay only for what they watch,” he says.

Currently, the company gives set-top boxes and the dish free to subscribers. “Except for installation, we do not charge them anything.” It spends anywhere between Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 to acquire a subscriber. According to Mr D’Silva, Sun Direct’s ARPU (Average revenue per user) is a little over Rs 100.

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#2
How many days they will give the press statement saying that they r providing free Dish and STB. why they r misleading the people:devil::devil::devil::devil::devil:
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