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Tata Sky, ESS introduce interactivity in sport with Actve Sports

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MUMBAI: Interactive sports content for the Indian audiences! That is what DTH platform Tata Sky has up its sleeve. The service has tied up with ESPN Star Sports (ESS) to launch its Actve Sports service. The first event is the ongoing Natwest tri series between England and Pakistan.

Basically at any time in the match a viewer if he/she has missed what happened earlier can get highlights at the click of a button. They can also get statistics of the teams, players as well as ball trajectory courtesy a virtual screen. Viewers can also switch the language commentary and get expert analysis. This also applies to channels that have dubbed feeds like Discovery.

Tata Sky CEO Vikram Kaushik noted that this initiative transforms the viewer from a couch potato to an active participant. This he says is just the start of new interactive services that will be introduced soon.

Tata Sky is also looking for other sports broadcasters to jump on the bandwagon. While it has started with cricket Kaushik says that the likes of soccer, tennis give a lot of scope. In the future one could see a service where the viewer can see a four or a six being hit from different angles. Of course this requires work on the part of the broadcaster to put up extra cameras in certain locations. Also for the Natwest series Kaushik noted that there is a dedicated team of professionals doing the necessary updates as a match progresses.

Tata Sky is looking to introduce a pay per view service for films in the coming weeks. For this purpose it is talking to both Indian and Hollywood film producers. This he says is a way for producers to get additional revenue and fight piracy. As far as getting in more channels in addition to the over 50 channels already present Kaushik expressed optimism that Zee would come onboard. He is also looking to rope in Sun TV. As far as bringing in niche channels are concerned he noted that at the moment exclusivity in DTH is not allowed. He hopes that partial exclusivity will allowed in the future so that someone who is interested in niche content like gardening or cooking can watch that kind of content on DTH even if it is not present on cable.

When asked about targets he said that he would be disappointed if Tata Sky did not reach the one million subscriber mark in the first year of operation. In terms of breakeven the company is looking at a four to five year time frame. Right now the introductory price is Rs. 200 a month in addition to the Rs. 3999 for the dish and installation. In a few months time subscribers can choose from packages.

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