DTH wins over digital CAS - Starcom study

Will I get fewer eyeballs for my advertising? Do I need to increase my budget to reach the same number of people through Television? Is my media plan going to become inefficient?These are just a few of the questions that a lot of Marketing Managers are asking their media agencies in the face of frequent announcements and subsequent postponements of the much awaited CAS rollout in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata.

While there has been a lot of debate on how CAS will affect the Cable industry or the Advertiser, no one thought of talking to the consumer

To understand the impact that CAS will have on the TV viewing habits of consumers, Starcom Worldwide commissioned a consumer research in these 3 metros, Chennai having already implemented CAS in 2003. This is the second wave of this research with the first one having been done in the 4 metros in 2003 when CAS was announced for the first time. This research was done among decision makers from SEC A,B & C households and has thrown up quite a few insights that can help marketers in understanding consumer perceptions and responses to CAS. Starcom also followed up with an analysis of ORG retail offtake data to understand what volumes of various categories are likely to get affected by CAS. We present here some of the key findings of the CAS research and a synopsis of the sales analysis.

  • A majority of the Consumers not willing to opt for CAS immediately

    In spite of the strength and popularity of Cable TV, only 30% consumers are willing to opt for CAS within 3 months of launch with Mumbai leading the pack at 53%.

    DTH more popular than CAS

    DTH awareness is 70% compared to only 51% for CAS
  • We attribute this to the advertising done by Dish TV over the last few months since launch and is likely to go up further with the entry of other players in this segment.
  • Most want to buy the Set Top Box outright rather than rent it

    Banks, who may have thought about financing Cable Operators for Set Top might have to shelve their plans since a vast majority (70%) of consumers prefer to buy the STB outright.
  • Compared to 2003 consumers willing to pay a higher amount for the STB

    Good news for cable operators is that the amount people are willing to spend for the STB is 30% higher than the amount they were willing to pay in 2003.

    Consumers willing to pay to watch channels of their choice and the perception is that Cable cost will come down post the implementation of CAS
  • 60% of consumers believe that they will be able to watch only channels of their choice and are willing to pay for those rather than being charged for 100 channels out of which they watch only 20. They also believe that CAS will actually bring down their monthly subscription from an average of Rs 202 to RS 162 with the drop being highest in Mumbai while Kolkata is not impacted at all.

Most people want to take a wait and watch approach and they will wait till there is enough indication that CAS is here to stay and they see enough of their peers converting in the first few weeks. Once the initial seeding takes place CAS penetration might start growing exponentially.

Finally what is the implication of the CAS rollout on sales. The following chart demonstrates the methodology followed to arrive at the percentage of sales that are likely to get impacted.

The affected volumes likely to be: Soaps targeted at the lower SECs : 1.1%

Metro focused Ketchup : 6% Private Insurance Companies : 10%

While most FMCG marketers can breathe easy, the ones who sell premium products/brands and are dependant on South Mumbai, South Delhi and the Municipal areas of Kolkata should have contingency plans in place But even for most of such marketers, the impact will not be more than 10% to 15%.

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