Delivering TV!

It’s almost the beginning of July 2006. The Direct to Home (DTH) scene in India is gearing up for the biggest battles of all. Subhash Chandra-owned Dish TV will soon have a competitor in the Rupert Murdoch-backed TATASKY DTH platform. Although TATA owns seventy-something percent in the company, we all know where the technical expertise will come from.

Newscorp through STAR TV will certainly create a strong product for Indian households. Let’s not forget that they own and operate BSKYB in the UK, where they are considered nearly untouchable in both quality of service and reach. DISH TV doesn’t sit still either. Just a few months after their launch, they started offering services like Movie On Demand and of course the most recent announcement of the inclusion of additional channels, including SONY, on their DTH platform.

STAR, which stayed off the DISH TV platform with only STAR UTSAV making a token appearance, has made its intentions clear. This year promises to be very exciting for viewers in the country. Both players are known to be aggressive. They won’t beat around the bush, and they certainly won’t take any prisoners. When BSKYB launched to lukewarm reception in the UK, SKY started giving out the set-top boxes for free, they also bought all the exclusive football rights for an astronomical amount to attract viewers. Free decoders plus the only place to watch your football the British bought BSKYB in a big way and made it a smash hit. ZEE, on the other hand, at home is constantly updating its service portfolio. The latest addition to their list is Mobile DISH TV. Yes, that’s right, you will be able to watch all their channels while traveling in a car or on a bus. They are a year ahead of TATASKY and are looking to consolidate their lead.

Tatasky, on the other hand, has deep pockets and a huge library of content to dish out on their platform. It is too early to know who will win this fight, but there are signs that the fight will be long and hard. Especially now that SONY has joined DISH TV, the lines are drawn. As I mentioned a while ago, people want all the advantages that a DTH service brings, but how many will want two different boxes at home? Maybe it will lead to the mother of all mergers… the TATSKYDISH television network!

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