Power-shift: Digital recorders in DTH may hit TV ad sales | business | Hindustan Times
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Power-shift: Digital recorders in DTH may hit TV ad sales

business Updated: Oct 21, 2009 21:27 IST
Rachit Vats
Rachit Vats
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

When you are not sure when they are watching the programme, how can you call it prime-time?

Industry trend-watchers say that over the next few years, television channels may lose some of their advertising revenue once sales of digital video recorders (DVRs) pick up. DVR services are a value-added offering in direct-to-home (DTH) broadcasts beamed through satellites. Tata Sky is offering the service, and its is only a question of time before it picks up in an industry with big labels such as Tata Sky, Airtel, Videocon, Reliance BIG TV, Sun Direct and market leader Dish TV.

Unlike the US and Europe, where the percentage of DVR homes is as high as 50 percent of the total DTH subscriptions, India is just getting started.

DVRs, which are upgraded DTH set-top boxes, allow viewers to record and pause live television channels and later enjoy uninterrupted playback.

Manoj Malkani, Vice President, MPG, said the tendency of viewers to watch advertising may get hit when DVRs get going.

“If the viewers play back a film, the advertising duration skipped will be much more than the compared to a cricket match.

For advertisers this will certainly be a missed opportunity. Just like some film DVDs, which don’t allow commercial fast-forwarding, advertisers too will have to in sync with DTH operators devise a similar strategy.”

At present there are 12 million (120 lakh) TV households with DTH connections. The industry expects DTH to grow at over 30 per cent per year, till 2012.

By 2015, DTH will enjoy a market share of 40 per cent digital cable of which DVRs will enjoy a sizeable chunk.

It is early days yet on how far and how much DVRs will change the ad landscape.

Ravi Kiran, CEO-South Asia and Emerging Market Leader - Specialist Solutions at media buying house Starcom MediaVest Group said, “There is no real threat now. Though at a later stage there will be pressure on advertisers, maybe leading to more
innovation. It would be more of a urban phenomenon though.”

Tata Sky, the only DVR service provider, claims that it has been adding 6 to 8 per cent new DVR subscribers every
45 days since its launch in October 2008.

“Every month there are more DVR based subscriptions, mostly from urban markets. This technology is set to become the leader,” Vikram Mehra, chief marketing officer, Tata Sky told Hindustan Times. But he did not give detailed numbers.