DTH

IDOS 2016: The DD FreeDish alternative for TV channels & advertisers

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/tv-images/2016/10/04/IDOS-FreeDish.jpg?itok=Uzcr-I3q

GOA: Has the pubcaster DD’s free to air platform FreeDish emerged as a viable proposition for advertisers? What are its expansion plans, going forward? These were some of the questions posed by the Indiantelevision.com founder, CEO & Editor in chief Anil Wanvari at IDOS 2016 in Goa during the session on FTA channels to SAB Group CEO Manav Dhanda, B4U broadcasting division COO and CFO Sandeep Gupta, Starcom India group CEO Mallikarjun ‘Malli’ Das, and DD’s FreeDish deputy director-general (engineering) AK Jha.

Jha started out by saying that the DTH platform has 55 private tenants including those from the majors – Sony Pictures Television Networks, Star India, and Zee TV – as well as from smaller broadcast networks such as B4U and the SAB group. “We want more such customers to come on our platform,” he expressed. He, however, confessed that getting an exact count of the number of subscribers was difficult as FreeDish was only a platform and the STBs were distributed by recognized vendors. “But, by extrapolating TRAI DTH data, conversations with STB manufactures and chipset suppliers, our estimates are that it could be anywhere between 20 million and 40 million. We would safely put it at about 25 million,” said Jha.

Gupta and Dhanda explained why the two networks have taken the FTA route on the DTH platform.

“As a broadcaster, we wanted to be on every platform. Since our focus was to be present everywhere, we got on to it very early when there were very few tenants. Although we were pay channels, we were FTA on DD FreeDish. B4U Movies was the Star Plus of DD direct is what MSOs told us. Only after BARC data rolled out did we come to know that rural has got so much of weightage. Otherwise, FreeDish was only one of the means of getting ourselves available everywhere,” said Gupta.

Added Dhanda: “We wanted to build the maximum reach. We have five channels. We are also on cable, DTH and other platforms. It was not triggered by the advent of BARC data which suggests you need to be there. There is a cost for entry. Distribution and content are major costs for broadcasters. As a broadcaster, we want ROI. Syndicated content channels like us have not managed to build a compelling pay TV channel proposition. Hence, it is safe to go to FTA.”

But, is it good to go FTA on DD FreeDish? Since the only revenue stream is from advertising, is the platform attracting advertiser interest?

“FTA has just come into focus as BARC gave a new set of lenses. Earlier, TAM used to measure LC1 but media planners did not take it seriously as they were urban focused. Now with the 6,000 metres under BARC’s rural sample, it has taken on a different hue," said Malli. “There are three segments advertisers look at from an audience segmentation – HD – 9 million-10 million homes; the fat middle with all the pay channels. And, there is the rural which is FTA. For brands, which are purely rural, it makes sense to go FTA. Distribute the spends over 30-40 weeks on an FTA media outlet, rather than finish it over eight to nine weeks on the more expensive pay channels. Some money is going into FTA from existing TV channel spends, some is coming from local cable, wall paintings and OOH.”

But, are media buyers buying air time on channels on FreeDish purely for the rural audiences or for urban and rural audiences as defined by BARC? “When media planners are buying for rural, it makes sense,” he said. “When they look at rural+urban, they start looking at old currencies, and things don’t move. There’s still some confusion. Once these old data currencies are exhausted, and some new benchmarks are set for rural, the ad dollars will start flowing in aggressively. HD channels have only nine to 10 million subscribers, yet planners are putting the advertiser's money into them. Whereas FTA has a larger reach, but the currency dynamics need to be taken care of.”

Is there a ROI coming in for advertisers? “It’s a little too early. The plane has to yet land,” opined Malli. ”Retailers, distributors and sales people say, take Star Plus. The rural sample is 6,000 metres. We have to triangulate what the trade says with the BARC data, as they will want the spectacular as they will want the ads to be in the biggest properties. Currently, we have put the money for our clients on FTA. We have to get a larger body of evidence.”

Jha said that DD FreeDish is augmenting its capacity by 24 channels and gearing up for this by moving to MPEG4 STBs, which are going to be made available to subscribers soon. “Currently, we are empanelling the STB manufacturers for MPEG4 boxes,” he explained. “Within four months, the STBs will roll out. Post that, the existing subscribers will be able to receive the 80 channels, whereas the new subscribers with MPEG 4 boxes will get 104 channels after the auctions conclude and tenants got on board.”

Malli expressed that this was good news, it was not something that the advertising community would put its money immediately on ."At least, we know what we are investing in with the MPEG-2 boxes now,” he said. “We will have to see how many MPEG4 STBs roll out, how they are accepted before we put our might behind them.”

Jha responded to this by saying that, in the new regime of MPEG4, DD FreeDish will be able to tell the advertiser community, exactly how many subscribers there were because the conditional access was being built in to the STBs. “Over time, we hope the entire universe of FreeDish will migrate to the new boxes,” he said.

Jha is bullish about the prospects of free TV. “Customers in rural areas cannot afford the high sticker prices of Rs 3,000-7,000 per year that commercial DTH players are charging consumers,” he said. “Customers need to pay just Rs 2,000-Rs 3,000 for the STBs once to be able to receive a bouquet of good channels free. Hence, we are quite confident of DD FreeDish and the alternative we offer to Indian TV viewers.”

Latest Reads

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/03/22/Planetcast-800x800.jpg?itok=K1_lgkLz
AION Capital to acquire majority interest in PlanetCast Media Services

NEW DELHI: AION Capital Partners Limited (the “AION Fund”) is to acquire a majority interest in PlanetCast Media Services Limited (earlier known as Essel Shyam Communications Limited) from shareholders including affiliates of the Essel Group, the Shyam Group and private equity firm Kubera Partners...

DTH DTH Services
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/03/17/Paolo-Agostinelli.jpg?itok=bepJSWAT
Tata Sky brings global content for Indians, premiering Gomorrah on 19 Mar

Tata Sky brings global content for Indians, premiering Gomorrah on 19 Mar

DTH DTH Operator
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/03/14/dishtv%26videocond2h.jpg?itok=6Bf9eWDS
Dish TV Videocon Ltd. may start operations in Sept '17

MUMBAI: With no roadblocks apprehended and approvals going ahead, the new merged direct-to-home (DTH) behemoth may start operations in September 2017. As reported by www.indiantelevision.com earlier, the new merged entity Dish TV Videocon Ltd. is set to create the single-largest DTH company in...

DTH DTH Operator
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/03/09/CareView%20%281%29.jpg?itok=b8g5Lo56
CareView becomes Dish Network's private cable operator

CareView Communications, Inc., an information technology provider to the healthcare industry, executed an agreement with Dish Network, LLC, a Colorado company, to become a Private Cable Operator (PCO).

DTH DTH Operator
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/03/09/Jawahar-Goel-800x800.jpg?itok=t4Gf1lM-
Dish TV, Videocon d2h merger: CCI seeks TRAI views

MUMBAI: CCI has sought TRAI's views on the proposed merger of Dish TV and Videocon d2h and as to whether or not the deal, leading to formation of Dish TV Videocon Ltd., will violate anti-trust laws. Dish TV, owned by Zee Entertainment (ZEEL) and the DTH arm of Videocon Industries had in November...

DTH DTH Operator
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/03/06/v2h%20%281%29.jpg?itok=B8qYO9t2
Videocon d2h partners Netflix for HD Smart Connect

Videocon d2h has signed a deal with the internet television network Netflix. With this partnership, Videocon d2h connected box customers will now be able to access seamlessly the extensive library of Netflix TV and movie titles.

DTH DTH Services
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/02/23/charles-ergen-800x800.jpg?itok=RxHacnoe
Dish Network rev flat in '16 despite declining pay-TV subs

BENGALURU:  The fourth largest US pay-TV player Dish Network Corporation (DNC) reported almost flat revenues for the year ended 31 December 2016 (FY-16, current year, quarter ended 31 December 2016 – Q4-16, current quarter) as compared to the previous fiscal. Though Dish reported 2.164 million...

DTH DTH Operator
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/02/21/dish-icici_0.jpg?itok=z4hD2NXx
DishTV partners with ICICI for digital payments

MUMBAI: DishTV has tied up with ICICI Bank by consolidated assets, to make payments and recharges easier. The association enables subscribers of the DTH platform to recharge their connections on any Unified Payment Interface (UPI) enabled app and through *99#, a National Unified USSD Platform (NUUP...

DTH DTH Services
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/02/13/arun%20%281%29.jpg?itok=c99t41lg
DishTV adds Discovery’s sports channel ‘DSports’

DishTV has added the newly launched sports channel ‘DSports’ from the house of Discovery Communications. With this addition, DishTV now offers a total of 13 sports channels in Standard Definition, the highest to be offered by any DTH service provide.

DTH DTH Operator

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories