According to Essel's official spokesperson, "It is shocking
and surprising when senior and respected industry professionals
(referring to Chernin) make such amateurish statements."
In an exclusive interview
to indiantelevision.com in Cannes during Mipcom, Chernin, to a question
on being beaten by Zee as far as launching a DTH service in India
was concerned, had said, "Zee TV has not launched as yet. They
keep making announcements. It is a soft launch. And you are not
going to see a hard launch of Zee TV's DTH."
A Chandra-promoted company, ASC Enterprises, in association with
Zee Telefilms, launched India's first KU-band DTH television service
on 2 October. While ASC is the DTH license holder, Zee (with Turner
International India) is providing and entering into third-party
programming contracts for the platform.
Joining issue with Chernin, the number two in News Corp after Murdoch,
the spokesperson added, "We can understand their (News Corp
and its Indian arm Star India) predicament as their high profile
DTH project has been a non starter. For us, at least we have made
a small beginning."
Chernin had told indiantelevision.com, "The only place in
the new markets we see potential for DTH is in India. And we will
abide by and live under all regulatory norms, the countries that
we operate in, ask us to. You saw that in the Star News case. We
see limits on ownership and those are fine by us."
Hammering home his point of a humble beginning that would give
them the first mover's advantage, the spokesperson said that Dish
TV, the brand name under which the KU-band service is being marketed,
has launched five exclusive channels for DTH including Premier Cinema,
which will showcase the latest Hindi blockbusters not more than
five years old, and Smile TV, a comedy channel. Another new channel
is Care TV.
These channels are being given over and above the basic bouquet
that is presently being offered by Dish TV for Rs100 (excluding
local taxes) as an introductory incentive.
The other general entertainment channels being offered by Dish
TV include Zee TV, Sab TV, Sahara Manoranjan, DD National and DD
Metro, apart from the likes of Zee News, Aaj Tak, Sahara Samay,
NDTV India, Headlines Today, Trendz, MTV, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon,
SplashTV and NDTV 24x7.
International news channels like CNN, BBC and CNBC are also on
Dish TV. Some non-Zee regional and Punjabi music channels too are
on Dish TV, it was pointed out, as too the fact that the service
also offers, at present, four satellite radio channels.
Explaining the advantages of Dish TV, Kaul says, "ASC's Dish
TV will not only have DVD-quality video and CD-quality audio but
advanced features like electronic programming guide (EPG) and control
on viewing via parental lock are being offered."
Dish is giving impetus to customer care, the spokesperson says,
"Better customer care through a 24/7 call centre is being ensured
as we understand that happy and satisfied customers is the key to
the success of DTH."
Though the subscriber base is still low, Zee is optimistic that
within a few months it will corner a sizeable market.
Over the past few years, the DTH satellite industry has emerged
with the launch of 55 DTH platforms worldwide. Subscribers to DTH
platform or satellite premium services worldwide had skyrocketed
to reach 60 million households in 2001, representing 200 million
viewers, with an impressive growth in revenue to Rs 1,100 billion
in 2001. Another 45 million households receive free-to-air TV channels
In recent times, satellite has clearly emerged as the potential
leading media for live events and video distribution, both for global
and local needs. Major successful platforms are Direct TV of the
USA (+10 million subscribers), Echostar of the USA (+8 million subscribers),
BskyB of the UK (+5.5 million subscribers) and Canal Satellite of
At present, there are approximately 87 million TV households (Source:
NRS - 2002) in India, out of which 31 million are CTVs and 56 million
Last year, a total of seven million TVs were sold, of which approximately
seven per cent were of 21-inch size or of the "flat" category.
The television market has been growing at a rate of 11-13 per cent
and is expected to grow at a similar rate in the years to come.
Currently, there are 44 million C&S Homes, which have been growing
at a rate of 20-24 per cent in the past and are likely to grow at
a rate of 18-20 per cent in the near future.
The concept of multi TVs in one home is also gaining popularity
in many urban homes because of varying TV viewing habits of different
members of the house. As per a study, 11 per cent of the total C&S
homes in Mumbai are multi TV homes. Industry experts forecast a
healthy growth of multi TV homes not only in the metros but other
A category towns in the country.
There are several geographical regions in India where the distribution
of population is very scattered, including villages.
"A large percentage of households in such areas are not serviced
by cable operators because of economical non-viability. A substantial
number of households in such areas have the paying capacity but
do not have access and hence are high potential customers for Dish
TV services, this being an untapped market," the spokesperson
"Our aim is clear:
creating content and news and distributing it as far and wide as
we can" - Peter Chernin