Cable, DTH locked in ad war

MUMBAI: The ad war between direct-to-home (DTH) service providers and cable TV operators has started. Soon after Dish TV ran a full page campaign on print asking viewers to stop watching cable TV, operators have retaliated with the tagline "Cable TV - Service at your doorstep."

The most obvious attack is on pricing. Dish TV, the ad says, offers all channels without the Star bouquet at Rs 300 per month. After adding up the 10 per cent licence fee and taxes (entertainment and service), the monthly bill in Mumbai will work out to Rs 412. Then there is the hardware and rental cost for the set-top boxes (STBs) which have to be paid in advance. Besides, there are no discounts for multi-TV homes, the ad states.

Cable prices in the conditional access system (CAS) areas, on the other hand, will begin from Rs 77 per month for the free-to-air (FTA) channels. The pricing for the pay channels is yet to be decided as broadcasters have to fix the rates. As for the set-top boxes, the early bird offer is Rs 2000. "With judicial intervention and government regulation now being brought in place, you too will reap benefits of CAS once it takes off from 1 January," the ad says.

Regarding service, cable TV has run even on days of calamities. Most of the consumer complaints are pricing related issues which are linked to pay channel hikes. "Cable networks also provide internet service. How come you never faced price related issues when dealing with the same cable network," the ad states.

The cable TV industry is "geared to usher in a new digital cable revolution with over 140 channels, radio services, games and on screen electronic programme guides."

The cablewallah may have finally woken up to the competition from alternate digital distribution platforms. The battle, as they say, is just beginning.

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