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Dish TV aims to launch OTT service, hybrid box this quarter

The company has nearly 4mn boxes in the market which are hybrid ready

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MUMBAI: It may be the oldest player but it's mind is as young as you can imagine. With The JioGigaFiber launch, cable and DTH operators are moderating their offerings, distribution strategy as much as possible. Dish TV, the largest DTH player in India is about to offer OTT service and Hybrid box soon. The new OTT offering will be a fair mix of linear TV channels, catch up content along with original content.

“The consumer will have the best of both the worlds getting connected with the Hybrid box and the DTH platform at the same time keeping the cost low and giving excellent value for money,” Dish TV group CEO Anil Dua said in an earnings call after posting Q2 results. He is also optimistic that these innovations will ensure that existing customers are not looking beyond Dish TV.

Dua also said the company is planning to launch the offerings in this quarter only. After the beta phase which is starting soon, it will get into a quick national launch. While he was questioned if it will tie-up with any OTT player for the launch, he made it clear that Dish TV will not be playing as an aggregator. There may be an app-in-app integration later.

“It is around Rs 35 crore on the CAPEX and networking equipment by startup cost and other cost still launched and thereafter it will be very marginal cost purchase of small content items which will be reflected in the content cost,” Dish TV CFO Rajeev Dalmia commented on the expenditure for the OTT Platform.

Although Dish TV has certain plans for partnering with broadband players, till now it has not revealed much. On the other hand, Jio is already getting ready for its bundled service of cable, internet, VoIP especially after the acquisition of stakes in Hathway and Den Networks. There are high chances that customers will tend to pay for a consolidated bill over having three different services.

This has been seen as a tough challenge for DTH players. However, Dua feels it is good for cable and broadband industry. As ARPUs have been low in respective industries, the new development may pave the way for higher ARPUs helping the entire pay-TV space. “In terms of the competitive price offering etc., in short-term, there could be prices which are lower but I think this company has been observed to match that but in long-term the prices have to rise,” he added further.

On the question ofsubsidising OTT or Hybrid boxes, Dish TV is looking at all opportunities that OTT presents. “We will definitely use it as a tool for our existing subscriber so that they don’t kind of look here and there, they have everything available with their Dish TV brand on their platform, but certainly we believe that we are making a good product and it can become an attraction tool as well,” Dua commented.

Dish TV chairman and managing director Jawahar Goel mentioned 4 million boxes are already in the market which are Hybrid-ready. The plan is to convert those into connected boxes in this quarter. Hence, hybridisation of existing boxes is also going to be another opportunity to build the business as well as a new subsidy.

As the parent company has an OTT platform which is gaining more users, the question arises about the justification of another platform from the group.

“Our OTT is meant for more from point of view for subscriber, so we are looking at typically short form kind of content which is different from what the other OTT players are looking at. So we feel that these are absolutely tailor-made for our respective audiences,” Dalmia said.

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