Dish TV has so far invested Rs 35 cr on new OTT platform

MUMBAI: Direct to home (DTH) operator Dish TV India has so far invested Rs 35 crore on its soon to launch over the top (OTT) platform. The amount has been invested in the Capex and purchasing networking equipment. The company will incur a marginal cost for acquiring content.

“So far we have invested around 35 crores on the CAPEX and networking equipment by startup cost and other cost and thereafter it will be a very marginal cost for purchase of small content items which will be reflected in the content cost,” Dish TV India CFO Rajiv Dalmia told analysts during the earnings conference call.

Dalmia further stated that the company is focussing on acquiring short-form content for the OTT platform. “Our OTT is meant for more from point of view of subscribers. So we are looking at typically short form kind of content which is different from what the other OTT players are looking at. So we feel that these are absolutely tailor-made for our respective audiences,” he added.

Dish TV India Group CEO Anil Dua said that the company has made substantial progress on the OTT product and is ready to launch it in the October-December quarter. “Our Beta phase is starting and we will be also getting into quick national launch soon after, so it is pretty much at the launch stage at the moment,” he said.

Dish TV’s OTT platform will live TV, catch-up TV as well as exclusive content. “This is our OTT platform. We are not an aggregator. Of course, we may build app-in-app integration but as I said we will provide several live TV channels, we will provide catch-up TV and we will provide some exclusive content,” Dua averred.

The company has also rolled out its hybrid set top box (STB) which allows customers to watch linear TV as well as OTT content. The idea is to retain customers and prevent them from going to the competition.

“We are looking at all opportunities that OTT present. We will definitely use it as a tool for our existing subscriber so that they don’t kind of look here and there, they have everything available with their Dish TV brand on their platform, but certainly we believe that we are making a good product and it can become an attraction tool as well,” Dua stated.

Dish TV CMD Jawahar Goel said that the company has already seeded 4 million STBs in the market which can be converted into connected boxes.

Dua said that Dish TV will leverage its existing boxes which are already active in the market and enable them to watch internet content as well.

Dalmia further informed that 2.6 million have opted for the company’s a la carte channel offering, as of 30 September. The idea behind the a la carte offering ‘Mera Apna Channel’ is to allow customers to pay for content that they want to watch.

“We are not trying to put any limit to what we can do with this because the whole idea here is that you may be on any base pack but you may like to avail of something more. So except for the customers who are subscribed to all the full-on pack, every other customer can for a nominal charge, and start in joining additional HD or SD channels. So there is no limit, it is giving a clear benefit to the customer,” Dua said, on being queried about the subscriber base being targeted by the DTH platform for this initiative.

Goel said that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) new tariff regime also mandates a similar model wherein all pay channels have to be made available to the consumers on an a-la-carte basis.

“So we had done in order to precursor the implementation of new tariff order number one. Number two is it gives us the opportunity that if a channel or with the broadcasters we are not on fix fee deal which is now in a different mode, so that channel is labeled to the subscriber on an a-la-carte basis. So like you had seen currently there is some negotiation did not happen between the DTH Company and broadcaster. So they had begun a-la-carte or add-on kind of thing. So this gives us always ready reckoner for the company to move into the pay per subscriber basis,” he elucidated.