Cable TV

Siticable partners dittoTV; to push OTT to cable TV and broadband subscribers

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MUMBAI: It was over the weekend that Zee Digital Convergence’s unleashed a TVC blitzkrieg, promoting its low priced over the top (OTT) service dittoTV. And now it has announced that it is partnering with Essel group cable TV MSO and sister company Siticable.

As part of this, Siticable will be pushing the authentication and subscription to dittoTV from its portal to the subscribers of its cable TV service. Its broadband customers will be able to subscribe to OTT service at no extra cost to them. Siticable and dittoTV will do joint promotions on the ground even as last mile operators will also work on further distributing the OTT platform and servicing those who subscribe to it.

Says dittoTV business head Archana Anand: “We are excited to be partnering with Siticable to give a push to our OTT service. We are looking at maximizing our distribution through the partnership. We launched our TVCs over the weekend and the response has been way beyond our expectations.”

Adds SitiCable CEO V.D. Wadhwa: “The partnership is an exclusive one for Siticable as an MSO. And it is going to be a win win for both of us.”

SitiCable has 12 million subscribers nationally to its cable TV service – an attractive potential captive audience for dittoTV.. Last mile operators who push the OTT service will benefit as a revenue share is being given to them.

The 132,000 Siti Broadband users in Kolkata and Delhi are another lucrative bunch of potential subscribers for dittoTV, especially since it is being bundled with it and being given away free to them. In Delhi, SitiCable delivers broadband using Docsis 3,0 modems to its 30,000 odd subscribers while in Kolkata the number is in excess of 100,000 but the delivery mode is Ethernet on cable. Average revenue per user (ARPU), according to Wadhwa, in Delhi is at Rs 600 while in Kolkata it is Rs 500. While the average bandwidth consumption is 30 GB in Delhi, the figure is half that in the eastern city.

“Broadband users will be able to watch dittoTV’s 100 channels on their laptops, tablets, and smart TVs in the comfort of their homes using our broadband,” says Wadhwa.

That probably should lead to a lift in bandwidth consumption, say observers, and an increase in broadband ARPU for Siticable once customers start using the dittoTV app and streaming the linear 100-odd channels that it is providing.

This apart, SitiCable’s cable TV subscribers, who are using other broadband services – dongles or Chromecast or what have you - will also be able to sign up and stream dittoTV on different devices.

Anand says the two of them will observe how the partnership is panning out in its Delhi pilot before rolling it out into other towns. Overall she has already said ZDCL was looking at 6 million subscribers in FY-2017. Of these, she says about a million should come courtesy its SitiCable partnership.

In all probability, dittoTV is going to serve as Siticable’s offering of an anywhere TV app – a la Tata Sky – as the operator says it is not interested in launching one of its own in the foreseeable future.

As a recap, dittoTV was relaunched last month with an offer of 100 + Hindi, English and regional language channels (excepting Sun TV and Star India) encompassing general entertainment, sports, movies, news and lifestyle following its relaunch last month. It has come in as a low price warrior with its price tag being Rs 20 for a month, Rs 50 for three months, Rs 90 for six months and Rs 170 for a year.

“We are definitely serious about OTT, hence we have priced it so low and are targeting large subscriber volumes,” says Anand. “We are investing in it for the future.”

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