Zee aims to Ditto its DTH success story

01 Mar,2012

 

By Rishi Vora

 

It is said that one who adapts as per the changing times is the one who succeeds in the long run. Recession or no recession – it doesn’t matter. If organisations continue to focus on what the market needs, success stories will continue to emerge and growth will eventually take precedence over many a hurdles.

 

Adapting to the market and launching a relevant product in India’s broadcast sector is Zee Enterprises Ltd; the company that has been credited for making early inroads in the TV entertainment space in India and making it big internationally. It has now set an example in the New Media space with the launch of Ditto TV.

 

Punit Goenka

Ditto TV is India’s first Over-The-Top TV distribution platform offering live TV and on-demand content to end consumers on mobile phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, entertainment boxes and connected TVs.  The product has been brought out in the Indian market with the help of technology partner, Siemens.  “The offering fundamentally turns appointment viewing as a concept on its head,’ said Punit Goenka, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, ZEEL.

 

On what it means to the group Mr Goenka said: “It adds a different dimension to business model. The idea was to bring cutting-edge wireless broadband digital services to customers across the world. Over the years, we have launched many industry firsts, but this is a launch that I’m excited about; I believe that Ditto TV will transform the way content is consumed and monetised.”

 

Vishal Malhotra

“For our channel partners- namely, for content owners, distributors, retail, OEMs and service providers, Ditto TV creates unique revenue generating opportunities,” explained Vishal Malhotra, Business Head – New Media, Zee Entertainment Enterprises, on what it means to its channel partners.

 

Apart from India, the platform will be available in the UK, UAE, New Zealand and Australia. And United States will follow in the priority list, by end of this quarter.

So yes, it’s an experiment by Zee, but as experts have pointed out, it’s a risk worth taking as consumption patterns of consumers are going through a sea change with the advent of digital technologies.

 

Ditto TV will offer features such as adaptive streaming, elaborative programme guide, content recommendation engine and an interface which is integral to enhance the user experience. Moreover, it allows for complete customisation in terms of cost as well as content – where users are given an option to handpick a basket of channels as per their own personal preferences.  Price points start at Rs49, where the consumer gets access to three channels of his choice.

 

Yogesh Radhakrishnan, a veteran in the field of TV distribution in India, said: “There are some issues like inadequate bandwidth; broadband connectivity is a pain, but having said that OTT is a technology for the future. For it to reach to the masses, it will take some time.”

 

As for the broadcasters, Ditto TV comes in as an additional platform to showcase their channels on. And just as the thought crosses the mind, as to how many broadcasters will Zee be able to get on board, the news is that already 21 channels have agreed to use this platform.

 

MSM Group, TV Today Network, BBC, and Zee are a few networks that will allow their channels to be available on the platform. A few important contracts yet to be signed which includes Reliance Broadcast, Star and Times Network. The company expects to offer a complete set of 50 channels shortly.

 

The sense is that it is a matter of time before the rest of the industry embraces this new platform from Zee. As informed by Mr Goenka, monetisation via advertising can only happen once it reaches out to a critical mass – at least 5 per cent of the audience which consumes TV content on a daily basis. So there is still some time for advertisers to worry about this new delivery platform. But, that doesn’t make this venture of any less significance for Zee.

 

Mr Goenka pointed out that a significant investment has gone into setting up Ditto TV and that he expects his new media division to contribute about 10 per cent to the group in terms of revenue in the next five years. Needless to say that Ditto TV is the first step in the bigger game to boost the company’s digital and new media play.

 

On what this means to DTH and cable operators, Mr Radhakrishnan explained: “These are very, very early days. There is no doubt that OTT is the technology of future, but for now, it is just a beginning and not a threat to other distribution channels. Also, it is unlikely to replace the existing mode of distribution channels, as new media and technology comes as a welcome ‘value addition’ to the business.”

 

So whether Ditto is able to script a ditto success story that of Dish TV – Zee’s DTH offering, is something to watch out for. For now it looks like a welcome initiative – both from the consumer and the trade point of view.

 

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