Sun Direct ramps up offering with 13 new SD channels

MUMBAI: Direct to home (DTH) operator Sun Direct has added eight new standard definition (SD) channels to its portfolio. The latest addition takes the total number of SD channels to 219.

The eight channels that have been added include Super TV, Travel XP Tamil, Sony Pal, Naaptol Kannada, Naaptol Malayalam, 9X Jalwa, Aradana TV and Nambikkai TV.

In January, the DTH operator had added five new SD channels namely Safari TV, Dighvijay 24×7 News, Vanavil, HMTV, and Powervision. Thus, the DTH operator has added 13 new channels in 2018 to date.

Sun Direct, which has a subscriber base of more than 12 million, had recently deployed Harmonic’s software-based HEVC media processing solution within its all-IP workflow in order to expand its HD service offering.

Harmonic’s Electra X2 encoder and ProStream multiplexer enable Sun Direct to deliver an additional 80 HD channels from four transponders to subscribers, with crystal-clear video quality at the lowest possible bitrates.

The DTH operator has also been ramping up its HD channel offering and currently offers 59 HD channels.

For fiscal 2017, on a provisional basis, Sun Direct’s net profit was Rs 32 crore on sales of Rs 1,207 crore. In fiscal 2016, the net loss was Rs 35 crore on sales of Rs 1,112 crore.

Sun Direct currently uses 4 transponders from ‘GSAT 15’ and 4 transponders from ‘MEASAT 3’. Out of the 8 transponders, 3 transponders from ‘GSAT 15’ were added during FY17. With the addition of the transponders, the company has been able to increase the number of HD channels offered to over 55 from about 15 channels earlier.

The ability of the company to leverage on the same and attract additional subscribers, retain its existing customers thereby improving its net subscriber base as well as improve its ARPU would be critical to its prospects.

Kavery Kalanithi, the wife of Kalanithi Maran (the promoter of Sun TV Network), holds 62% equity in Sun Direct, and Kalanithi Maran holds 18%. The remaining 20% is held by South Asia Entertainment Holdings, Mauritius, an investment arm of All Asia Networks, Malaysia’s leading cross-media group.