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Dish TV opens new line of attack, to make public TV channels’ reach data

MUMBAI: Leading direct-to-home (DTH) player Dish TV is taking the battle to the broadcasters. After making the IndiaCast UTV distributed channels available a la carte from 1 January, it has now decided to move in another new direction.

Venkateish02Dish TV has decided to make public the reach data of all the television channels on its platform on a monthly basis, the broader impact of which is too early to be assessed. The move, which media agencies have welcomed, is aimed at “structural correction” as per Dish TV CEO RC Venkateish.

In this new pressure tactics to extract better content deals, Dish TV will share with media agencies and advertisers the monthly reach figures of all the channels that it carriages on its DTH platform.  Broadcasters depend on television ratings for pricing their shows to advertisers.

Dish TV is planning to release the data from February onwards. Thus, the first to roll out will be the January reach data.

While the reach will be in percentage terms and not in absolute numbers, it will give a clear idea of how many Dish TV subscribers have subscribed to any particular package or an a la carte channel.

“We have decided to publish the monthly reach data of all the channels on our platform. This will be good for all the media agencies and advertisers and can initiate structural correction. This is not a commercial exercise and the data will give insights into the pack-wise reach figures of all the channels,” said Venkateish.

Industry observers believe that while any kind of information is good, it may put pressure on the channels, which are not in the base packs, to sign deals for base packs. However, Venkateish rubbished it, saying that it is up to the channels. “Our motive is not commercial gains. If some channels feel the need of changing placements, it is up to them. We will only put the data in the public domain.”

Dish TV, which has a net subscriber base of over 11 million, had earlier made its intention clear that it wants to increase its carriage revenue. This would help drive down its content cost at a net level.

The DTH operator does most of its content deals with broadcasters on a fixed fee basis.

Will the advertising revenues of broadcasters be impacted when their reach data is made available to media agencies?

Malliarjun-Das“While the data will be useful, it cannot become a currency as it is not third-party data,” said Starcom MediaVest Group CEO India Mallikarjun Das. He added that it would be more of proxy for connectivity. “Earlier, we used to get connectivity stats. Now, if Dish TV can give on-time spend and reach, I will be very happy, but if it is only connectivity reach, it will not affect advertising,” he added.

PM BalakrishnanAllied Media COO PM Balakrishna said that any clarity would lead to a greater positive rub-off effect on the advertisers and thus advertisers and agencies would welcome such move. However, he cautioned that one has to see what kind of information is being given and all the elements have to be studied.

The reach data could possibly help in the way HD selling is done. “The HD channels will be benefited with Dish TV’s move the most as the basic trend in demand will be visible. So far, the HD channels are being sold on perception, but if Dish TV gives total reach, the channels will be able to ask for premium,” a senior executive working in a broadcasting company said.

Das agreed. “For HD channels, it will be good as the advertising calls on HD channels are largely being taken qualitatively in absence of any reliable ratings. So this should help.”

It may be recalled that Dish TV, which has entered into an RIO deal with IndiaCast UTV, has removed all the channels of the bouquet from its existing packs and is offering them on a la carte basis, without any additional cost. The reach data will, thus, show what percentages of subscribers have requested for those channels.

Now, will the new move affect IndiaCast UTV? A top official said that as Dish TV has not announced the said decision and the details are not available, he cannot comment on the same.

Whatever be the case, the fight between Dish TV and IndiaCast UTV is getting bitter.

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