Cable TV

DPOs, consumer data and the art of upselling content

It is tough for traditional players to have robust consumer profiling

KOLKATA: In the age of online content platforms, knowing what consumers want has become the key to customer acquisition and retention. While these platforms have tons of data to woo the target audience, it is tough for traditional players in cable distribution ecosystem, especially multi-system operators, to have robust consumer profiling.

However, (direct-to-home) DTH players like Tata Sky have already started innovating the area and MSOs are following suit slowly. At a distribution-related panel, ‘Broadcast and distribution challenges and the road ahead’, hosted by, all the panellists agreed that if they need to upsell or cross-sell content, a significant amount of data is needed.

“We do a bit of analytics. In the DTH industry, there is only one way of communication, the return path data (RPD) is not there. However, we have tens of thousands of dongles, through which we get some back-channel data, the reverse path identification based on which we do some customer segmentation like what channels they are watching, which regions are focusing on which channels. We are seeing as a trend that there is an inclination towards watching more regional content that has accelerated during Covid2019 pandemic,” said Tata Sky chief financial officer G Sambasivan.

“We try and do a lot of upselling based on customer analytics so that our hit rate in terms of conversion is on the higher side so that we don’t do carpet bombing. We select those customers and we try to upsell channels to them based on our estimate of which will be appealing to which type of consumer,” he added. According to him, Tata Sky has tasted success in the method and so, keeps improving analytical capabilities.

IndusInd Media & Communications Ltd (IMCL) CEO Vynsley Fernandes said that the problem is bigger for MSOs due to two major issues. Firstly, RPD will come at a high cost. Secondly, unlike DTH players, MSOs don’t have access to last mile-consumers directly since local cable operators (LCOs) act as the medium of connection. However, he mentioned that some MSOs are studying consumers but have not deployed any system yet. Moreover, if they deploy anything there is a concern about what is a valid sample size. He also mentioned that IMCL has been working with LCOs to build its database. Although he acknowledges that it is not optimal like other industries, it is getting better slowly.

“Since the customers are with us for 25 years, it is impulse and intuition that helps us drive the ARPUs. Around 60 per cent customers go with DPO packages,” Metro Cast Network Services Pvt Ltd promoter Nagesh Narayandas Chhabria said. 

Indian Cable Net Company Ltd director Suresh Sethia also spoke of the broadband box integrated with the network of cable users that gives them data on who is watching what. They have at least 3000 such boxes.

Siti Networks Ltd CEO Anil Malhotra said that as they are in b2b business, they can’t have direct contact with consumers, especially with LCOs in the middle. “But whatever choices customers have made are saved in our back end. Based on that, if any upselling or marketing has to be done, we can easily do it. As our business model is b2b, we consider what operators are doing in real-time is better. On a single way of communication, there will be a limitation,” he added. 

PwC India Entertainment partner media and sports advisory leader Raman Kalra did not agree to this view as he thinks every business is b2c in the M&E sector. He cited the example of print industry that did not have a direct connection to consumers and now the industry is struggling to adjust with digitisation. 

“Until and unless you [DPOs] go and check with you customers and have a reverse path, you will always be conjecturing what your customers are watching. While in past we could not have it, going forward we can align our LCOs also to the idea that is important to know what our consumers are watching. It would help you to build a business for yourself as well as for your direct consumer. So, it’s time we get LCOs on partnership mode, teach them, educate them, and only then will it unlock. Otherwise, all will keep going in circles,” Star and Disney India distribution and international business president and head Gurjeev Singh Kapoor commented.

IndiaCast Media Distribution Pvt Ltd president Amit Arora said that they have to offer various propositions so they can hold on to consumers.

Latest Reads
GTPL Hathway records standalone net profit of Rs 30.5 cr in Q1 FY22

New Delhi: Cable TV and broadband service provider GTPL Hathway Limited (GTPL) has clocked a standalone net profit of Rs 30.5 crore for the quarter ended 30 June.

Cable TV Multi System Operators
TCCL implements ATEME's Titan Live solution for its cable TV platform

Mumbai: ATEME on Tuesday announced that Thamizhaga Cable TV Communication Pvt Ltd (TCCL), one of the largest cable distribution companies in India, has chosen to implement its TITAN Live solution for their cable TV platform.

Cable TV Multi System Operators
Cable operators take steps to ease vaccination process for staff

Despite the imminent health risks, the cable industry employees have continued to work on the frontlines all through the pandemic. Now with vaccination drives in full swing across the country, leading cable operators, too, are taking a step ahead and getting their employees inoculated.

Cable TV Local Cable Operators
Make in India push for set-top boxes face challenges

Last year it made headlines when large DTH players including Tata Sky, Dish TV announced their decision to move manufacturing of a significant portion of set-top boxes (STBs) in India. The announcements were in line with the government’s renewed push for Make in India.

Cable TV Local Cable Operators
Cable industry veteran Lt Col VC Khare passes away

KOLKATA: Cable TV expert, retired Lt.Col VC Khare has passed away. He contributed to the cable TV industry in India at different roles for nearly three decades. He was a member of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) where he played a significant role in formulating 8 BIS Specification for cable TV...

Cable TV People
SCTE India announces its new executive board for the term 2021-2024

New Delhi: The Society of Cable Telecommunication Engineers (SCTE), India has appointed NXTDIGITAL Limited MD and CEO, Vynsley Fernandes as the honorary chairman, Sandeep Bhargava as the president, and Rahul Nehra as the national secretary. The announcement was made at the recently held annual...

Cable TV People
GTPL KCBPL partner with UKIO, spread smiles

GTPL KCBPL has partnered with UKIO to spread smiles during these difficult times and expand their product offering. UKIO is a personalised messaging platform that allows users to share video call messages with their loved ones via their favourite celebrity icons.

Cable TV Local Cable Operators
NXTDigital turns around its business with Rs 13.66 crore profit in Q4

KOLKATA: NXTDigital has turned its business profitable by raking in Rs 13.66 crore profit after tax (PAT) for the fourth quarter. The company has reported Rs 277.96 crore consolidated revenue for the quarter. It posted Rs 0.32 crore PAT in the previous quarter and a loss after tax of Rs 43.43 crore...

Cable TV Multi System Operators
GTPL Hathway earmarks Rs 400 crore capex for FY22

Pan India multi-system operator (MSO) GTPL Hathway is increasing its capex projection for FY22 to Rs 400 crore, compared to Rs 335 crore it invested in FY21, a top executive revealed in an investors call.

Cable TV Local Cable Operators

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories

* indicates required