Reliance’s DTH venture Big TV may not launch anytime before August. The reason is that although the redundant site located at Bangalore is ready, till there is heavy rain, the service can’t be tested.
When contacted, Rajesh Sawhney, president of Reliance Entertainment said, “No comments.”
A source close to the development says, “The service has to be tested in heavy rain. One cannot simulate rain. It is likely that the launch will take place only in August 2008 by when heavy rains will hit the site.”
The source further adds that once launched, Big TV may be offered through outright purchase, leasing as well as hire purchase options. It is also believed that in all probability, the company may offer DTH services free to some of the Dish TV and Tata Sky subscribers in order to develop its subscription base. If given free, the service charges would be Rs 200 per month. The company would be targeting 5 million subscribers in three years.
As of now, the potential pay DTH market is about 12 million, of which Dish TV and Tata Sky have already acquired 3.5 million subscribers. Soon, four more players, Videocon, Reliance, Airtel and Sun will be in the market.
With a total of twelve transponders on the mpeg4 format, Reliance’s Big TV will be able to show as many as 240 channels to its subscribers.
According to the latest Ficci PwC report, DTH homes are projected to increase from 4 million in 2007 to 25 million by 2012, increasing their penetration from a 3 per cent of television homes in 2007 to 19 per cent in 2012.