Chandra says nyet to DTH, says ad revenues are perking up

Zee Telefilms chairman Subhash Chandra today hinted that the group is not immediately interested in starting a direct-to-home (DTH) TV service.

"DTH is not as big (a technology) as has been made out in India," Chandra told on Thursday. "The target market for DTH would be 4-5 million homes under the present economic circumstances," Chandra said pointing out that no matter how much marketing a DTH company does the final target would be what he said.

However, it is interesting to note that Chandra's company was the first to announce its intention to start a DTH service in India, along with Sterling group's C. Sivasankaran, when the government had announced the policy guidelines for KU-band DTH services over 18 months back. What is also interesting is that Zee TV's former partner Star India has been extremely buoyant about launching a DTH service and its chairman James Murdoch has been very vocal in his opposition to CAS and Indian cable operators.

Speaking on revival of the economy and its reflection on the ad spend on TV, Chandra felt that advertising revenues have "started looking up." "With new sectors like insurance opening in India and comparatively smaller advertisers (like those selling slippers (footwear), snacks and locally-made undergarments) starting to advertise on TV, ad revenues certainly have been on the upswing in recent times," he said.

As an example to his theory, Chandra cited the example of Zee TV's advertising pattern during early days. "In 1992, when we started, Hindustan Lever accounted for between 40-45 per cent of the total ad revenue of the channel," he pointed out, adding, "The financial year that we closed on March 31, 2002, HLL's share has come down to 5-6 per cent. This does not mean that Zee's ad revenues have come down. It only means that others too have made inroads."

Asked what sort of appreciation in ad revenues does he forecasts for Zee Telefilms in the future, Chandra said, "During the current financial year we expect ad revenues to go up between 10-15 per cent."

Pointing out that TV is slowly attracting ads which otherwise would have gone to other avenues, Chandra said that today TV attracts about 35 per cent of ads from the total ad pie.

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