Digitisation: Airtel digital, Videocon d2h push free STB offers

MUMBAI: Cable‘s loss could well be DTH‘s gain. With just a day left for the first phase of digitisation in the four metros and growing apprehensions that a large number of homes would go dark due to non-installation of set top boxes (STBs), direct-to-home (DTH) operators have come out with offers to win over cable TV consumers.

Airtel digital TV and Videocon d2h are offering STBs free of cost to consumers in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata as part of their special packages, while Tata Sky’s DTH connection comes with an option to pay for STBs in installments.

Airtel digital TV’s offer includes of a ‘2 year freedom plan‘, which consists of 180 plus channels for two years for Rs 4,800. However, the STB, like in the case of Videocon d2h, would continue to remain the property of the company.

Videocon’s free STB offer is available on annual subscription offer of Rs 3480, which includes Rs 265 as monthly pack price of New Gold Sports pack and Rs 300 towards five months of d2h Cinema (movies on demand) subscription. In South, the New Gold Sports Pack is priced at Rs 2844 annually or Rs 237 per month.

Essel Group-owned Dish TV recently launched a basic channel tier comprising 70 free-to-air (FTA) channels free of cost for life for consumers in the four metro cities. The FTA package free for life is on the condition that subscribers have to recharge its regular package of pay channels at least twice a year.

Tata Sky is allowing customers to pay for STBs in installments, which includes an upfront payment of Rs 400 and Rs 4 per day for the entire year. Customers can get started with Tata Sky by choosing any of the base packs which starts at Rs 155 per month.

According to Tata Sky chief marketing officer Vikram Mehra, the DTH operators have always been aggressive in pricing and digitisation coupled with upcoming Diwali season provides another opportunity to woo customers.

All the three DTH operators are going all out to promote new offers through 360-degree marketing initiative with a thrust on print and out-of-home advertising besides television and digital media.

The DTH operators are hoping to attract cable customers in the four metro cities looking to make the most of the uncertainty that looms. The government has made it clear that it will switch off signals to all analogue cable homes.

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