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Cable TV, DTH and OTT distribution

MUMBAI: Having an OTT service is not enough; you’ve got to get it out on every outlet possible, is something we all know. But are traditional TV distributors like DTH and cable TV open to giving them carriage? That was the topic of discussion on one of the panels at Indiantelevision.com’s second VIDNET – Content on the Go powered by Viu conference in Mumbai’s Hotel Westin.

On stage were Shemaroo CEO Jai Maroo, DEN CEO SN. Sharma and outgoing Videocond2h COO Himanshu Patil.

Maroo said Shemaroo was interested in getting its content on every service – DTH, cable TV, OTT, traditional linear channels, or even YouTube.

“We have done content supply deals with all the four major DTH operators and are about to do some with cable TV as well,” said Maroo. “Our content has to be on every screen.”

He added that the company is constantly mulling over the idea of setting up its own OTT but has not gone ahead on it. “Every six months we visit the thought of doing our own app,” he shared. “But I see what’s going on with our other VOD partners and we drop it. We may do it when we think the time is right. Currently, we are curating and packaging our large content catalogue to them”

Patil stated that the DTH provider had partnered with Shemaroo for several VAS services that Videocon d2H was offering to its subscribers. “And mind you they are willing to pay as much as Rs 30-40 for the service like Darshan, And its not only high end HD or 4K customers who are at the premium pack end who are willing to subscriber to our BAS service. Even the basic pack customers are” disclosed Patil. “So OTT players should take heart from our experiences – the willingness to pay is there as long as you provide her with the content she wants.”

He added that Videocon2h is ready to embed any OTT app into an user interface on the DTH service. “We are currently integrating Netflix with our connected box, and are talking to almost every OTT player in India to do the same,” he said.” I’d rather have my customer stay with me for my DTH service and offer him the entire bouquet so he can move out into VOD when he wants and come back into linear television when he wants. We will be working on voice activated search and discovery which will enable to him find every piece of content related to that search.”

He revealed that the operator had dropped the idea of serving an on-the-go app to its subscribers. “All the broadcasters are coming up with their own apps. It did not make sense for us to have our own,” he explained.

DEN’s Sharma disclosed that the MSO had, on the other hand, unveiled its own OTT on which it was offering traditional linear channels as subscribers had expressed the need to watch these on their hand held devices or on the go. “But it’s early days for us and we are learning along the way,” he said. “We know we have to aggregate content, apart from our normal linear fare. We have 2,500 movie titles, and other video on demand fare. ”

He highlighted that he was open to integrating any app or OTT service into the DEN network. “Yes, we are willing to partner, possibly, initially to provide customer service and get the apps or OTT players traction, but we would like to see revenue coming our way at some stage,” he elaborated.

The fact that this would benefit his Boomband broadband services was not lost on him. “It will be a win-win for all of us,” he expressed.

He said DEN was working on getting boxes into homes which would enable regular TVs to become smart. “Very soon,” he said.

He was not worried about the impending launch of Jio Fibre or Jio DTH wherein rumours are that it will disrupt the wired broadband market just as it did in the wireless space.

“If it goes the free way like it went for its 4G mobile service, I am sure no one will be able to stand up against it,” he stated. “But the fact is that it is going to take time to be available nationally. So lets’s wait and watch.”

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