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Hike in subscriptions, DTH players set to lose ground - Sathish - 07-10-2012

INDORE: The growth of Dish TV, a direct-to-home (DTH) service provider has been hit in the state following a hike in subscription price and the set-top-box. The company has hiked its monthly subscription by Rs 20 and set-top-box (STB) price by about Rs 200 earlier this month.

The company's STB now costs Rs 1790 while Airtel another service provider is mulling a hike in subscription tariff but the others are adopting a wait and watch strategy. The hike is subscriptions would affect the two lakh subscribers of DTH service in the state but will deter the new consumers from opting to the service.

Post announcement of its subscription fee hike, which became effective since July 3, the sales of new Dish TV connections has come down by almost 20% over the past week, said an executive of a retail electronics outlet requesting anonymity. Operators like Tata Sky and Videocon d2h are the gainers, he added.

The operator claims that they had to take the decision to hike tariff to deal with the impact of rupee devaluation against the US dollar.

In an e-mail reply to TOI, Shashi Arora, CEO, Airtel digital TV, said, "Pricing of our services has always been based on the input costs and competitive benchmarking. In the recent past, high entertainment tax and customs duties levied on our products coupled with the steep appreciation of dollar has forced us to make some pricing correction. Our endeavour will continue to provide the best value proposition to our customers". However, he didn't disclose the quantum of price hike at his company.

Interestingly, the move by the DTH operator comes in the wake of the price hike in STBs by the cable operators. Secondly, the DTH operators have recently charged a large sum from their subscribers in the name of replacing the existing STBs with high definition (HD) one.

Anand Gupta, spokesperson of cable operators and MSO Association, said, "The move by the DTH operators will result in switching over of their subscribers back to cable operators."

Source: The Times Of India