MUMBAI: After targeting the east of the country, Dish TV has trained its sights on the diametrically opposite part of India - Maharashtra - with its regional sub brand Zing. The western state has arguably the highest penetration of TV viewing homes nationally.
Zing has been spreading out gradually over various towns and districts of Maharashtra right from Nashik to Ratnagiri to Aurangabad to Amravati over the past few days. It will however be focusing primarily in the heartlands and on areas where language consumption is very high; hence bigger cities like Mumbai, Thane, Pune and Nagpur won't be exposed to the brand.
Earlier this year, Zing was launched in West Bengal, Odisha and Tripura. The aim is to provide a DTH offering that can compete with cable but with digital picture quality, stereophonic sound and at affordable rates. Says Dish TV marketing VP Anjali Malhotra, "When these analogue consumers think of going digital we come as the first proposition. As markets will open up in phase III and IV, we do see an opportunity between other private DTH players and DD's Freedish."
There are three packs available – Utsav, Anando and Shubharambh that will have 16 Marathi channels such as Zee Talkies, Zee 24 Taas, Zee Marathi, Star Pravah, Mi Marathi, ABP Mazha, IBN Lokmat, Saam TV, Maayboli, 9X Jhakaas, Jai Maharashtra, TV9 Maharashtra, DD Sahyadri and ETV Marathi.
Estimates peg Maharashtra’s cable TV and DTH homes at around 4-5 crore with a considerable amount of that being covered under the first two phases of digitisation.
A marketing campaign worth Rs 6 crore has already begun across various towns and cities. The first phase was ground activations through mobile vans and merchandising activities. The ATL campaign that just commenced includes Marathi newspapers, local radio spots and close to 100 outdoor billboards in city and market areas. The ATL marketing that has been executed by McCann with planning in the hands of Madison will go on for a month.
"Consumers are warming up to the idea that they are getting an offering that his cablewallah will have," says Malhotra while highlighting some of the learning from Zing in the east. West Bengal and Odisha were test areas and she says that at an aggregate level the two brands, Dish and Zing, have collectively taken 40 to 50 per cent share.
The regionalisation of DTH also means that new channels need to be added as and when they come. Earlier this year the DTH operator secured additional transponder space on the newly launched SES 8 satellite, thus allowing it to add several more channels.
While there is a worry that the sub brand may eat up into the parent brand, Malhotra says that research has shown that isn’t the case. "The customers for Dish and Zing are very different. Which is why we aren't even bringing Zing to the cities. In some places we will only display Zing, in some Dish and in some both, depending upon the language consumption in each of the areas," she says.
While on the one hand, a couple of DTH operators are going high tech and targeting premium viewers with 4K Ultra HD announcements, Dish TV, the oldest of them all, is going desi and local.