ESS roots for subscription ramp up from cable ops ahead of soccer season

MUMBAI: Riding on the Fifa World Cup wave, which kicks off next week in Germany, ESPN Star Sports (ESS) is asking for a substantial increase in the subscriber base from cable networks across the country.

ESS is asking for a 20 to 30 per cent hike from the major networks. And, in smaller markets the channel is targetting an increase as high as 70 per cent from those networks which are terribly underdeclared.

ESPN Software India VP sales and marketing Sricharan Iyengar says, "Our aim is to use the World Cup event reactivate in those networks where we are absent. We are looking for at least a 20 per cent growth in the subscription base from the major networks. In smaller markets we are looking at a raise from anything between 30 to 70 per cent."

Sources say that InCable has signed a deal allowing for a 20 per cent raise. On the other hand, Hathway CEO K Jayaraman, while declining to comment on any figures maintains that when the yearly contract was renewed with ESS in March, there was no undue pressure put on them by the broadcaster on acount of the Fifa World Cup.

In addition to increasing subscription declarations ESS, this fiscal, is also targetting a 50 per cent growth in subscription revenue. That is because in addition to the Fifa World Cup, it will also air two cricket series involving India. One of them sees the Indian cricket team touring South Africa in December. Iyengar says, "We hope to achieve a 50 per cent growth in subscription revenue this fiscal. We are kicking this off with the World Cup".

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