21 Oct 2017
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Tata Sky claims DTH supremacy with 600-strong offering

MUMBAI: From facing a capacity crunch some years back to offering, as it claims, the highest number of TV channels and value-added services (VAS) in the direct-to-home (DTH) industry, Tata Sky has come a long way.

The pay TV and over-the-top (OTT) service provider has claimed that it offers 600 channels and services, which is the highest ever in the DTH sector.

Until December 2016, Tata Sky was offering 483 SD and 76 HD channels, which remains the highest in the industry. Over and above, it boasts a bouquet of 31 VAS, 15 special SD and HD movie platforms, nine exclusive +1 channel feeds.

By comparison, Dish TV offers more than 585 channels and services, including 22 audio channels and over 50 HD channels and services.

Videocon d2h offers 570 channels and services, which include 45 HD channels and services. Airtel Digital TV was offering 520 channels, including 51 HD channels, five international channels and five interactive services, as on 30 September.

Tata Sky has claimed market leadership in terms of HD as well as regional channels in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Bengali, Oriya, Punjabi and Assamese.

Tata Sky chief communications officer Malay Dikshit said, “Consumers in India consider the number of channels provided by an entertainment platform to be among the second-biggest reason to make their purchase decisions. Tata Sky is leaving no stone unturned to offer the maximum number of channels and services to its subscribers. Hence, offering Sabse Zyada Manoranjan catering to every member of the family is key to the Tata Sky offering.”

It is pertinent to note that a few years back Tata Sky had to go through a severe capacity crunch as it had not received the promised transponder capacity from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The DTH operator was forced to replace the MPEG-2 set-top boxes (STBs) installed on the customer premises with MPEG-4 STBs.

The exercise cost the DTH operator a massive Rs 900 crore. However, it got the much-needed capacity addition to take on the other DTH operators, who were aggressively expanding their services. According to reports, the switch to the MPEG-4 enabled the DTH operator to offer more than 300 channels from the 230 channels that it was offering before.

Buoyed by the capacity expansion, Tata Sky had launched a slew of offerings in 2016 ranging from enabling internet browser application on the STB, introducing Kids Showcase, Bengali and Punjabi movies MAMI films, m-Visa payment option to interactive services such as Comedy, Devotion, Music + and Gurus.

Tata Sky, which completed 10 years in 2016, had also launched marketing campaigns such as ‘Pyaar Jingalala’ (13 ad films), ‘Das Saal Jingalala’ and ‘Family Jingalala’ (starring Amitabh Bachchan).

Some of the other firsts in the sector that Tata Sky likes to lay claim to are the launch of 4k STBs in India, karaoke service on STB, unique interactive services such as Classroom, and daily recharge.