More 'exclusive' channels for Zee's DishTV

MUMBAI: Three more exclusive movie channels are expected to come on board Zee's direct-to-home (DTH) venture DishTV, after Smile and Premier TV - the two home grown Zee channels - made their appearance on 2 October.

The ASC Enterprises-promoted DishTV made its debut in certain pockets of the country on Thursday, for Rs 100-plus-taxes for a basic bouquet of 48 channels; and an introductory offer of Rs 3,990-plus-tax for the CPE (Customer Premise Equipment) including a vanilla set top box.

The channels currently offered on DishTV include the Zee bouquet and the Alpha clutch of regional and free-to-air (FTA) channels, plus some uncommon channels.

The basic tier is being beamed into 800-odd homes across Jammu and Kashmir, Coimbatore, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan, reports state.

Smile TV, the comedy channel and Premier TV, a movie channel, are part of the premium tier, and customers have to pay Rs 10 extra for each of them.

According to an ASC spokesperson, over the past few years, the DTH satellite industry has emerged from nowhere 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 FTA channels through DTH.

Zee Group plans to push the service in areas where cable TV penetration is weak, attempting to break into Doordarshan territory. Additional vice-chairman of Zee Telefilms Jawahar Goel, had recently told that the company plans to offer DTH service to consumers who are unable to get cable television. 

Goel said that the company did not see an overlap of DTH service with its existing cable operations. "The set-top box need under conditional access regime cannot be upgraded to the DTH platform," he added.

The number of channels that can be carried on the DTH platform is limited unlike in the normal cable operations.

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