ZTL floats STB schemes for consumers

NEW DELHI: The battle to enter the set top boxes into Indian cable homes, in the four metros initially, is getting interesting.

In order to send across a message to its critics and, what it calls, "support the initiative of the ministry of information and broadcasting in implementing Conditional Access System (CAS)," the Subhash Chandra promoted Zee Telefilms has said it has come up with two schemes for digital boxes "in the consumer interest" to be provided to the subscribers under Galaxzee, the brand name under which Zee is marketing its HITS (headend in the sky) concept.

Zee Network will provide to its subscribers the digital boxes under the following two schemes:

Plan I

Fully refundable security of Rs 3,990. A rental of one rupee per day will be charged. For bookings prior to 14 July 2003, six months' rental will be waived. 

Plan II

Fully refundable security of Rs 2,990 and a rental of Rs 1.50 per day will be charged. For bookings prior to 14 July 2003, six months' rental will be waived. 

A senior Zee executive said, "If the Central Government considers favorably the import duty reduction on the boxes, the schemes shall be reworked and the benefit will be further extended to the consumer."

A Zee statement in this regard goes on to add: "It is expected that under the conditional access environment, the various pay channels will not increase their subscription rates for coming two or three years as they shall be achieving the growth in the paid subscriber base declarations." 

As per information available with, Zee has already dispatched some enior execs to South East Asian countries, from where the boxes are being sourced from multiple vendors, to give the green signal for the first shipment of boxes to be sent to India.

Now, that's what we call sending down a googly, in cricketing lingo, when the batsman (read the industry) is expecting a traditonal leg break.

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