TN is focus market for DTH players

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3 Nov 2010
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Mr Nagarajan Kanthan, Regional
Head (South), Reliance Digital. RELATED TOPICS advertising and
marketing marketing arts, culture and
entertainment television Mr Nagarajan Kanthan, Regional Head (South),
Reliance Digital (formerly Big TV), was wrapping up
for the day when this correspondent landed at his
office a few days ago — at about 3 pm. How come so early today….lean day? “Lean day? No way,” he said adding, “actually I am travelling…. travelling like crazy these days…Came from Coimbatore just this morning, and have to
catch my evening flight to Madurai,” he said. He is going there for a dealers' meet in the region, “and also to explore possibilities of expanding
dealership network there”. Tamil Nadu is now Reliance Digital's focus market as
the State has almost close to 100 per cent TV
penetration and hence big scope for growth. The
company has been beefing up its distribution and
retail networks across the State. Overall, the cable and satellite industry has altered
the dynamics of the market very significantly in the
last few years. And, more so in Tamil Nadu. So, not
just for Reliance, the State is now a focus market for
all the six DTH service providers – Dish TV, Tata Sky, Sun Direct, Reliance Digital, AirTel Digital and
Videocon's d2h. TV PENETRATION While average TV penetration in India is about 60
per cent, thanks to the previous Government's ‘free TV' scheme for all ration card holders in the State – irrespective of income levels, almost all households
(there are close to 1.6 crore households in the
State), Tamil Nadu boasts over 90 per cent TV
penetration with sizeable number of 2-TV homes in
urban towns. The State still has a lot of far-flung, cable-dark
areas, offering better chances for DTH players. “Till a few years ago, it used to be a tough task for us to
sell one DTH connection a day in a tier III or even
tier III cities, as we had to educate consumers and
convert them. Today, even people in rural areas are
surprisingly well aware of the technology,” says Mr Kanthan. MARKET SHARE According to industry sources, of the overall 150
million TV homes, more than 100-110 million
homes come under the C&S (Cable and Satellite)
category. With around 32 million subscribers, the
DTH industry commands a little over 30 per cent of
this market. Tamil Nadu, with almost 35 per cent (of C&S homes) DTH penetration, “is well ahead of the rest of the country”, he said. Cashing in on this trend, all operators are offering special entry fee
and monthly subscription packages in the State.
Besides, for 2-TV homes, they offer a special
monthly package rate of around Rs 150 a month
for the second connection – irrespective of the package of one chooses. In India, six players put together add an average
one million connections a month. At least, 10 per
cent of this comes from the Tamil Nadu market. “On an average, we sell 14,000 connections in Tamil
Nadu alone,” Mr Kanthan says. More interestingly, Tamil Nadu is very significant
because large number of households is converting
to digital from analogue cable connections. And,
the State is also the biggest market for high-
definition flat panel TVs in the country, propelling
further growth in DTH connections. (According to Mr Manoj Mohandas, Regional Executive of LG
Electronics, over 12 per cent of the company's flat
panel TV sales in India comes from Tamil Nadu
alone. Samsung too says that the State accounts for
a chunk of its FPD TV sales). Though still cable is a dominant player in the
country, DTH is forging ahead to be the preferred
choice of many TV viewers, observes Mr Kanthan.
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