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Dish TV out to get cable TV subscribers with new sub-brand Zing

MUMBAI: Dish TV is out to get cable TV subscribers in its fold. India’s largest direct-to-home (DTH) company has created a sub-brand, Zing, to target regional markets and mop up price-sensitive subscribers in Phases III and IV of digitisation.

Dish TV will be the first DTH operator in the country to have two brands—one targeting the main DTH subscribers and the other the low-paying strata of the market.

Dish TV’s new brand will test the waters in West Bengal and Odisha, the two eastern region markets which have a strong language-oriented TV viewing culture. After this, markets like Maharashtra and Gujarat will be targeted.

Zing subscribers will get a wide range of regional-language channels. Set-top boxes (STB) will be available at a lower price.

Zing’s debut starts in West Bengal today with 26 Bangla channels and services. Very soon, Zing will tap into the Odisha market and later the movement will be in the other regional markets.

RC Venkateish“The cable digitisation process has fuelled the growth for all DTH operators in the country, with more households shifting to a digital base. As industry leaders and pioneers of the DTH sector, we are again thrilled to be the first to introduce an entirely new brand Zing for the benefit of our esteemed customers in West Bengal,” Dish TV CEO RC Venkateish said.

In Bengal, the company is offering new Zing connection at Rs 1,099 (installation charges additional), while the Dish TV box is available for Rs 2,099. The obvious target is the 10 to 12 million analogue cable TV homes that are to be digitised in Phases III and IV. However, Dish TV will not encourage its existing subscribers to shift to Zing, Dish TV COO Salil Kapoor said.

There will be three packs priced at Rs 175 ( Rs 149 plus taxes), Rs 249 and Rs 349. All the packs will have regional channels as base.

Salil Kapoor“Zing is a specific offering for an audience which is a completely different demographic. The Phase III and IV homes are from small towns and interiors and many of them want content in their own language. What other DTH players and even Dish TV provide is a national base pack and regional add-on packs. Zing will work the opposite way. The base pack will have all regional channels, while national and international channels will be add-ons,” Kapoor told TelevisionPost.com.

While he refused to give out the customer acquisition cost, Kapoor agreed that in this model the STBs will be different. “At low price points, these will obviously be engineered differently. However, it will have a unique value to it,” he added.

Kapoor also said that Zing will have all the popular channels. “We see an opportunity here. We have always taken steps first and the industry has followed,” he asserted.

The company is planning to spend over Rs 5 crore ( Rs 50 million) to promote the offering. Incidentally, besides content, Zing will have advertising, packaging and other marketing activities also in the regional language.

When asked about the impact on other players, a rival DTH player, who has a strong presence in the state, said that it may not impact the market much. “It may open up the market further. However, I don’t see our company taking such a step. Apart from southern states, rest of India demands national Hindi channels. Also, Bengali viewers are looking for popular channels, which all DTH players offer,” he said.

Cannibalisation could also be a fear. A portion of the Dish TV subscribers, existing and new, may want to subscribe to Zing.

Bibhu RathWill cable companies be impacted? Ortel Communications president and CEO Bibhu Prasad Rath said that cable networks are in a better position than DTH to give more regional channels as there is no constraint of bandwidth. The head-end can be decentralised. “If at all anyone can give better regional packs, it is cable and not DTH. I am surprised that DTH operators are planning this game, which can be better played by cable guys any day,” he averred.

How the market dynamics shift will depend a lot on the number of subscribers Zing will be able to mobilise.

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Dish TV creates sub-brand Zing to target regional markets