Tata Sky on Wednesday marked its one millionth subscriber in a direct-to-home (DTH) television broadcast war with early mover Dish TV of the Zee group by eyeing a possible investment of about Rs. 2,000 crore in the medium term to boost value-added services.
The company is aiming for eight million subscribers by 2012, which would mean a more than 50 per cent market share in the pay segment on current reckoning. But that would be a tough call as players like Bharti Airtel, Reliance ADAG and Sun TV launch their own DTH offerings.
“More new features will be added in interactive television. We will also cater to regions and pockets in a focused manner,” Vikram Kaushik, Tata Sky’s chief executive officer, told a news conference.
The company also intends to improve the distribution network of recharge vouchers for monthly packages and introduce monthly instalment schemes to make the Rs. 4,000 crore installation cost more affordable
Only about 4 million of India’s 117 million television subscribers now fall under the DTH niche.
According to market analyst Media Partners Asia, the penetration of pay TV, which includes CAS (conditional access system) and DTH, was estimated to be 46 per cent in March, and is expected to increase to 90 per cent by 2015. Kotak Institutional Equities estimates the DTH subscriber base to increase to 15 million by 2012.
DTH viewing is expected to become more interactive at a lower cost with a larger range to choose from. Tata Sky now offers 120 channels and plans to increase that to 150. Dish TV already offers 170 and also recently launched a set-top box for computers to woo PC-based subscribers.