MUMBAI: The world is in the grip of football fever and India isn’t far behind, though it is traditionally a cricket-crazy country where an Indian Premiere League would score any day higher than a FIFA in terms of fan frenzy.
As aficionados prepare to settle down in front of the idiot box, popcorn and coke in tow, DTH operators are doing all they can to woo customers with special services and what not during the World Cup.
A strategy adopted by almost all DTH operators is to offer Sony Six free for the entire duration of FIFA to all new subscribers taking a connection between June and the FIFA finale. While Tata Sky, Sun Direct and Airtel DTH are offering the channel free-of-charge to all their new subscribers, Dish TV is offering it only to its new subscribers and also to Zing subscribers. “FIFA viewing pockets are West Bengal, Odisha, Kerala and urban cities. So when compared to cricket, it isn’t as big an event in India,” says Dish TV CEO RC Venkateish.
Additionally, Tata Sky and Videocon d2h have timed the launch of two of their services to coincide with the beginning of FIFA. Tata Sky has launched its TV Everywhere application for desktops and laptops, which was hitherto only available on Android and iOS smartphones. Furthermore, Sony Six is the new addition to the list of channels available on the app that would be available to subscribers at the same cost of Rs 60 per month. Tata Sky COO Vikram Mehra says, “The service launch has been timed just before the football World Cup to ensure that the home laptop doubles as the second TV at home, thus allowing youngsters to watch late night football matches on their laptops and headphones without disturbing their entire family.”
Whereas, Videocon d2h has recently launched its earphone service through which, viewers can connect to radio frequency remotes and watch TV. “We have been working on this proposition for our consumers for quite some time. As per extensive research done by us, the typical Indian male consumer likes to watch content late night. Mostly consumption is of sports and movies. Given that in a typical Indian household, television is in the bedroom, volume becomes an issue. With a huge following for the World Cup in India and its late night timing, it coincided well with our plans,” says Videocon d2h CEO Anil Khera. Special product offerings will be provided for headphone remote-enabled set top boxes.
Even Sun Direct’s existing customers, who take a recharge of six months or more, can watch Sony Six free during the FIFA period. Those who don’t have Sony Six in their packs can avail the FIFA add-on for a special price of Rs 39 for the duration of the World Cup or buy Sony Six at Rs 30 per month. A mix of above the line (ATL), below the line (BTL), digital and PR activities have been planned close to the beginning of the World Cup. ATL is through radio, TV and focus on Kerala; BTL is through posters, leaflets and wobblers; while other activities are through SMS, OBD and blogs. The operator has already received nearly 40,000 requests for Sony Six.
Dish TV and its second brand Zing are banking not just on Sony Six but also on Sony Aath which will be providing commentary in Bangla. Says Dish TV VP marketing Anjali Malhotra, ''Zing caters to a larger language customer base. Sony Aath is already available in all base packs of Zing as well on Dish TV in the north. With Sony Six available to consumers free of any extra fee during FIFA, it will help people buy Zing and watch it.''
The operator has also rolled out an intense marketing campaign across West Bengal involving print, outdoor and radio mediums.