Zee's Dish TV shifting to NSS-6 from Insat in July

NEW DELHI: Zee Telefilms and ASC Enterprise-promoted Dish TV, India's first KU-band DTH televisions service, will hop on to NSS-6 from an Insat satellite in July.

The change in the satellite will be done simultaneously with the addition of more channels to the service, bringing the total number of channels on offer to 84.

Speaking to indiantelevision.com, a senior executive of the Subhash Chandra-promoted Zee Telefilms said, "To increase the channel offering, we needed more transponder capacity that was not available with Isro (Indian Space Research Organisation). So, we were advised to go on to NSS-6."

Isro, a government organisation that manages operation and transponder lease of Insat series of satellites, has also undertaken a similar deal with the Europe-based NewSky Satellite for transponder space for Indian pubcaster

Doordarshan's proposed KU-band DTH service.

Dish TV, which unveiled ESPN and Star Sports some months back on the platform, has already added a few channels to its stable since then, like Trace from MCM and Euro Sports. Media reports have also quoted Sony Entertainment Television India executives saying that negotiations are on with Zee for Sony channels to join the Dish TV platform.

In addition, with the increased number of offerings, Dish TV is in the process of finalising a pricing structure for various tiers of service for the service. The subscription fee for the basic tier of DTH service would be kept around Rs 100 (approximately $2.5).

The Zee executive said that as the channels and value-added services increase, there has to be different pricing for various tiers as one single price would not make the business commercially viable.

"The various price structures are being worked out and would be put in place in the next quarter," the Zee executive said.

Dish TV claims to have got 140,000 DTH boxes out in the market, but this need not necessarily mean that the total number of subscribers would also be the same.

Gearing up for impending competition from the proposed Tata-Star combine DTH service, Dish TV is looking at doing some value additions to the service. One such service being looked at is high-speed Internet connections through satellite to a DTH subscriber, which would come at a cost. The Internet service is likely to be introduced in the last quarter of 2004.

Incidentally, ASC Enterprise, a Subhash Chandra-promoted company that holds the licence for DTH service in the country, has dropped its plan to put into orbit a customised satellite. The satellite project was being implemented by an ASC subsidiary, Agrani Satellite Services Ltd. The plan now is to buy off the shelf an existing and orbiting satellite.

Dish TV is a venture of Essel Group, promoted by Chandra. The group's business interests include media programming, broadcasting and distribution, packaging, entertainment, online gaming and telecom, all of which are undertaken in close synergies with Zee Telefilms, Siticable, Playwin, E-city, Esselworld, Intrex, Cyquator, Essel Propack and ITZ Cash Card.

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