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DTH players capitalize on DAS phase III areas with aggressive campaigns

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MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: DTH players like Videocon d2h, DishTV et al have been shouting from rooftops about being DAS Phase III ready for a few months now. And since the DTH sector stands to benefit the most with the cable TV digitisation drive in India, most players have rolled out aggressive advertising campaigns to acquire more customers.

While Videocon d2h expects Phase III to be 50 million TV households in terms of size, the scope for customer acquisition is vast.

More so now with the ongoing High Court cases filed by various multi system operators (MSOs) and cable operators to extend the Digital Addressable System (DAS) Phase III implementation deadline, as many as five states have got temporary respite. With cable operators in several states facing shortage of set top boxes (STBs), the situation proves beneficial to DTH players in acquiring new subscribers in DAS Phase III.

Dish TV, which is the oldest direct-to-home player in the country, has stepped up its campaign following the deadline of the Government for switching off analogue signals in all urban areas covered by DAS Phase III.

In fact, the DTH player has been very upfront about their marketing strategy that capitalises on the confusion over digitisation in Phase III areas, as seen from their latest aggressive campaign titled Dish99. Targeting the Hindi speaking market, the catch phrase for this new campaign reads “Set-Top-Box Matlab DishTV” (Set-Top-Box Means DishTV).

The TVC features popular TV actress Radhika Madan, who is a household name for daily soap watchers, addressing two housewives to tell them that their serials would be off air soon.

When the panic-stricken women ask what they should do, she urges them to switch to Dish TV that offers service starting at just Rs 99 before their analogue signals are disrupted and they miss out on their daily entertainment.

Explaining their current marketing strategy, Dish TV MD Jawahar Goel said, “DishTV’s advertising has always been very pro-active, but the ongoing campaign has been designed in view of the obvious shortage of set top boxes with cable operators. With the deadline of phase III of TV digitisation coming to a close, we aim to capitalise the huge captive user base that will eventually be on digital platform.”

With this product, further, to augment the digitisation drive in Phase III, DishTV has introduced a 360 degree multi-media campaign spanning TV (across leading entertainment, sports and news channels), outdoor, radio, digital, online and direct marketing that leverages the power of popular TV celebrities. This DAS campaign features DishTV’s relatable faces to strike a chord amongst the audience and create awareness about TV digitisation among every household to shift from analog to digital platform,” added another DishTV spokesperson.

Earlier Tata Sky too had rolled out a similar engaging campaign with Kangana Ranaut as its brand ambassador reaching out to people and telling them why they should switch to Tata Sky and enjoy paying for selective channels.

However, Tata Sky points out that their campaign was not intentionally targeted to capitalise the digitisation situation.

Tata Sky CEO and MD Harit Nagpal says, “We didn't do any special campaign and the ads with Kangana Ranaut had commenced last year before the deadline. The ad simply says that if the viewer gives a missed call on the displayed number, Tata Sky will call back for installing their system. Thus, the viewer will save money as well as get the work done.”

The campaign kick started earlier in June 2015, saw itself drawing several eyeballs from both consumers and industry experts by virtue of its casual and conversational style of narrative.

On the other hand, sources share that Doordarshan’s free to air DTH service FreeDish has no plans to step up its publicity or marketing in view of the extension orders by High Courts of the DAS Phase III.

“FreeDish was in a market that was different from the other DTH players as it was a free to air platform. DD generally publicised FreeDish only on its own channels and has no intention of any cross-channel promotion,” a source informs.

It is undeniable that the current situation of DAS Phase III poses an opportunity for several DTH players to provide an easier alternative to consumers and bring them on board as subscribers while cable operators find a solid ground on the digitisation proceedings. What’s more, even as the government has announced 31 December, 2016 as the deadline for DAS Phase IV, it now remains to be seen how DTH players get even more aggressive on the marketing front as the year progresses.

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