Boxes sold, but where's DD Direct Plus?


NEW DELHI: Indian pubcaster Doordarshan's proposed DTH television venture is becoming a bit of a joke with a prolonged delay in launching the KU-band service increasingly irking those customers who have bought set-top boxes and have nothing much to do than twiddle their thumbs.

What's more, sale of set-top boxes, which were earlier doing fairly brisk business in remote areas of the country, especially Rajasthan, have dropped over the last 30 days to almost nil.

An official of Prasar Bharati, which manages DD and All India Radio, admitted that a delay in the formal launch of the DTH service, named DD Direct Plus, would not go down well with existing customers who have bought the basic level set-top boxes (STBs) for the service.

"We understand that such delays would not endear us to people, but we too are helpless in addressing some problems," the official said.

It seems that DD is keen the Rs 5 billion DTH service should be inaugurated by no less than the Prime Minister himself, but Dr. Manmohan Singh has not been able to give a definite date for the inauguration function yet due to his busy schedule. Besides, the information and broadcasting ministry had certain reservations on certain issues like having private news channels Aaj Tak, CNN and BBC, on DD Direct Plus. The issue, however, has been resolved.

The delay in launching the KU-band service, mainly aimed at expanding the penetration of DD channels, has had some other side effects too. For example, some of the private sector TV channels that evinced interest in joining the DTH platform are dithering on signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Prasar Bharati.

Even Star, which had said it would give Star Utsav for the DD Direct platform, according to Prasar Bharati sources, is playing the delaying game.

Some other channels like Jagran and ETC (from the Zee stable) after having made promises earlier, have not shown much enthusiasm of late.

Zee's reluctance is understandable as DD, after acquiring the telecast rights for some of the home cricket matches, summarily told Dish TV, which has 20 per cent investment from Zee Telefilms , to discontinue DD National and DD Sports from its DTH platform, much to the chagrin of the Subhash Chandra company.

Until now, Prasar Bharati has signed agreements with only five private sector channels including Sun TV, Kairali, Akash Bangla and the almost-nearing oblivion Jain TV. But DD sources indicated that some new deals may be signed early next week.

DD Direct Plus is a free to air KU-band service. For the first two years, subscribers will not have to pay any subscription money. The DTH platform will also not change carriage fee from any private sector satellite channel. The service was to flag off with 30 channels, which would increase to 40 over a period of time.

Meanwhile, two STB manufacturers - Delhi-based Spacelink and Ahmedabad-based MCBS, entrusted by DD for manufacturing and distributing the boxes - have expressed discontent. The message: sale of STBs has almost come to a standstill owing to customer disenchantment over delay in launching the DTH service.

The DD source admitted that sale has dropped "drastically" in recent times, even though between 25,000-30,000 boxes have been sold till now.

There are over 900 dealers in 212 cities and towns attempting to push the STB for DD Direct Plus. Sale had been brisk around June-July in states like Rajasthan and Maharashtra. In Rajasthan especially, cable TV's penetration is not so deep because of the rough and difficult terrain.

A basic box for the proposed DTH service costs approximately Rs 2,500 (slightly over $ 54) and can access all free to air channels without the help of any smart card.

Latest Reads

Rakesh Jhunjhunwala picks up Dish TV shares worth Rs 93 crore

Indian billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala-owned Rare Enterprises on Wednesday picked up 1.30 crore shares in the direct to home service provider Dish TV. Following the move, the Dish TV India's share price rallied as much as 3.5 per cent on Thursday morning.

DTH DTH Operator
Impending tariff order implementation pushes Dish TV to sign short-term contracts

MUMBAI: Keeping in mind the recent Madras High Court judgement in regard to tariff order and interconnect regulation, India’s largest direct to home (DTH) brand Dish TV India is now focussin on short-term deals. As the recent judgement brought tariff-order closer to the reality, the DTH brand’s...

DTH DTH Operator
Reliance BIG TV joins hands with 50,000 Indian Post Offices for HD DTH set top boxes

MUMBAI: DTH player, Reliance Big TV, after announcing zero cost entertainment to 130 crores Indians, has partnered with 50,000 Indian Post Offices across Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim for...

DTH DTH Operator
Merged Dish TV reports maiden numbers for fiscal 2018

BENGALURU: The merged entity comprising of two Indian DTH players – Dish TV India Ltd reported its maiden fourth quarter and fiscal numbers for the periods ending 31 March 2018 (Q4 2018, quarter under review, FY 2018 year or fiscal under review). The two entities of the new behemoth Dish TV India...

DTH DTH Services
Dish TV offers SD channels at Rs 8.5 per month

MUMBAI: After an intense merger time with Videocon d2h, Dish TV is back with a new solution for its customers and this time it is offering SD channels at just Rs 8.5 a month. The DTH operator has even launched a 360-degree campaign to make people aware of it. Entitled “Saadhey aath mein jeeto saare...

DTH DTH Operator
How Harit Nagpal plans to keep Tata Sky ahead

MUMBAI: The DTH sector. What once seemed a lucrative arena has now seen companies getting acquired and merging, the competition being intense . Today, India is the largest DTH market in the world by number of subscribers. As on 30 September 2017, there were 66.99 million active pay DTH subscribers...

DTH DTH Operator
Tata Sky, Airtel DTH gain market share in 2017

Tata Sky and Airtel Digital TV (Airtel DTH) have reason to rejoice as they saw market share rise in calendar year 2017 as compared to a year ago. Both saw an increase by one per cent each at the end of December 2017 as compared to at the end of December 2016 according to Telecom Regulatory...

DTH DTH Operator
Tata Sky coughs up Rs 561 crore as licence fee for FY 2017-18

MUMBAI: Direct-to-home operator Tata Sky has paid Rs 561 crore as licence fee to the government for 2017-18 financial year, according to a statement released by the company. The company paid a total of Rs 2,200 crore in the last fiscal year ended on 31 March 2018. This amount includes GST, state...

DTH DTH Operator
Dish TV-Videocon d2h to bank on economies of scale

MUMBAI: The  long-awaited fusion of Dish TV and Videocon d2h  finally saw the light of day  on 22 March 2018. The pioneer in the direct-to-home (DTH) sector, Dish TV, and the fast-growing Mumbai-hqed and Dhoot family promoted service came together making Dish TV Videocon  d2h the largest pay TV...

DTH DTH Operator

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories