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Hathway to target existing users for new OTT, cable hybrid STBs

Both of the newly introduced boxes have been priced at Rs 2999.

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MUMBAI: Indian consumers are not losing interest in linear TV anytime soon but one can’t be too wary given the OTT burst. To stay ahead of the game, Hathway has unveiled two new products – an OTT set-top box and a cable hybrid box. Both of the boxes have been priced at Rs 2999.

80 per cent of Hathway’s target will be existing users who can upgrade to the new hybrid box while 20 per cent will be new customers. As on 30 June, it had 7.2 million cable TV subscribers. Overall, the company is hoping to sell 100,000 STBs each month. The box production capacity is the same as before for now but if the volume of response explodes, it can even double it.

The newly introduced boxes will be available to the local cable operators from 15 October and consumer registrations will start by 1 November.  For initial rollout, the company will work closely with local cable operators.

Hathway Play Box, the OTT set-top box is based on Google’s Android TV. The remote carries a dedicated YouTube, Netflix and Google Play button. It will also have voice-enabled Google assistant and inbuilt Chromecast. The hybrid cable box named as Hathway Ultra Smart HUB combines linear TV with Play services in HDR quality along with easy navigation. It will enable users to download apps from the Google Play store also.

“When we developed Ultra Smart Hub, the most important aspect has been listening to our customers to understand their needs regarding their TV viewing. We see a clear shift in consumption in content today compared to earlier. Indian consumers today want a mix of traditional linear television viewing combined with on-demand or streaming services. With the Smart Hub we have a product that meets their expectations,” Hathway Cable and Datacom MD Rajan Gupta said.

There is a slight difference in the usage of both. The cable hybrid boxes can be made available in areas where Hathway has its cable infrastructure while the OTT has an advantage. It can reach areas where there’s no cable but Hathway’s broadband service is offered.

The new boxes can lead to the company’s ARPU growth also. He hopes top 25 per cent of consumers will go for OTT services. “In general, any OTT service providers will be more than happy to do such tie-ups because it will help them increasing reach,” he also added.

“Starting 1 December we will have a TVC for this product. Our marketing team is working on a 360-degree marketing campaign. Creating awareness, right from metros, mini metros to rural will be the key. We will also be working closely with our LCO partners. In fact, we will be rolling out first with them and apart from TVC we will also take help from them to create awareness,” he added.

In the previous investors call from the Q1 financial result, Gupta mentioned the necessity of an innovative model, bundling IoT, cable with current pay TV and OTT. He had said that the company is working on it and would announce something soon.

"We are pleased to be working with Hathway and look forward to leveraging their extensive broadband and cable network to enable more exciting and useful Android TV experiences for consumers," Android, Chrome & Play Business Development head India Pranab Mookken commented.

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