New Delhi, June 1: Hi-Definition could be the key differentiator in the ongoing cable wars. With the date for mandatory digitisation nearing, the competition between cable companies and direct-to-home service (DTH) providers is intensifying. In this milieu, DTH firms believe HD will work in their favour.
HD services were launched by DTH players during the Commonwealth Games, though at that time there was not much content to showcase. Although the category is growing slowly, DTH operators estimate that already about a half a million DTH HD boxes have been installed in the country.
“HD is changing the market dynamics of the business,” says Mr Anil Khera, CEO Videocon d2h, which is offering 19 True HD channels to its subscribers. Two years ago, he says, there was no HD channel being broadcast in India.
The wave of HD channels began with ICC World Cup in 2011 and now there are nearly 25 HD channels spread across all important genres such as sports, Hindi GECs and so on. “For us, nearly 10 per cent of our monthly subscriber additions are for HD connections,” he said.
Out of the approximately 15 million new colour TV sales in India, around 6 million are LCD and LED. Estimates suggest that nearly 20 per cent of these sets are HD and the proportion is expected to grow to up to 30 per cent. DTH firms are betting big on leapfrogging by consumers from analogue cable straight onto Hi-Definition STB boxes.
Mr Jawahar Goel, MD Dish TV, which is the market leader in DTH segment, said, “With the proportion of HD ready television sets in the country growing, we believe consumers are willing to pay more for premium quality viewing.”
Dish TV is betting big on its HD box with recording facility. “The recording device has been missing from Indian homes for the past so many years after the video recorder phased out. We are offering HD DVR at the price of HD connections,” he said.
In HD, the DTH players may hold the first mover advantage for now, but soon multi-system operators are going to catch up. Already some multi-system operators have graduated to the HD league, having launched their HD boxes.
But DTH service providers believe the MSOs have to climb a learning curve. As Mr Shashi Arora, CEO – DTH/ Media, Bharti Airtel points out, “Premium services such as HD have found their own niche and will take time to percolate down. Our share in monthly additions of HD subscribers is higher than competition.”
Source: The Hindu Business Line
Filed Under: General News