With the direct-to home race hotting up, Anil Ambani’s Big TV has decided to launch in haste. The company is planning a June 24 launch, said industry sources, with teaser campaigns hitting televisions four days before the launch. Abhisekh Bachchan may be used as a brand ambassador sources added.
Big TV’s entry, this month may intensify the action in the DTH space that is seeing a fierce price-war. Big TV already serves 50,000 customers who are part of its pilot launch and are its employees and customers of associate companies. According to the 2008 Ficci-PwC report on Indian entertainment and media industry, DTH households are expected to grow from 4 million in 2007 to 25 million by 2012.
When contacted, a Big TV spokesperson said, "Reliance Communications is in advanced stages of launching Big TV DTH services. Big TV DTH service aims to be the most preferred option for home entertainment solutions across customer segments. Like in case of all offerings from Reliance ADA Group, customers using Big TV DTH services would be able to avail of better service quality, enhanced features and wider offerings at prevailing price points".
The company may launch its services across 6000 towns this month itself. Actor Abhishek Bachchan will be the brand ambassador for Big TV, sources said. Tie-ups with television companies to make LCD television sets available with a Big TV connection at subsidised costs are in final stages. The pricing details are not known. The annual packages offered to employees came at a monthly subscription fee of Rs 325 with Rs 100 worth of pay per view content free. The installation charges were Rs 1000.
Existing DTH services providers such as Tata Sky and Dish TV, which share about 5 million subscribers between themselves have of late, been busy wooing consumers with offers at reduced prices and attractive packages.
Industry sources point out that both of them are bleeding with losses of over Rs 1000 crore but experts feel that the market has a great potential and that initially there is a subscriber acquisition cost, that has to be incurred.
Salil Pitale, head of media practice at ENAM Investment Bank said, “The DTH market presents a fantastic opportunity and the entry of yet another player will work well for the market. A bulk of the existing cable TV market is in analogue mode and waiting to be converted either through digital television or through DTH. Between Dish TV and Tata Sky, 4.5 – 5 million subscribers are shared. With a total of over 70 million cable and satellite homes, the opportunity is huge.”