Tata Sky gears up for digitization with new ads

28 May,2012

By A Correspondent


“Drop cable, upgrade to Tata Sky,” reads the latest ad of the direct-to-home (DTH) service provider, as the cut-throat rivalry between DTH players and cable operators intensifies in the countdown to the first phase of compulsory digitisation in the top four metros by June 30.


“Your TV will continue to run on your inverter even during a power cut…isn’t this a reason enough to choose Tata Sky over cable,” said another advertisement, as the DTH major unleashes its third phase of print and out-of-home (OOH) ad blitzkrieg to lure millions of cable users in the top four cities to its services.


Vikram Mehra, Chief Marketing Officer of Tata Sky, said the campaign is directed at educating consumers so that they can make an informed choice. “Our latest print campaign tells subscribers to do their homework before they buy a set-top box (STB) so that they chose Tata Sky and not just some dabba (box),” said Mehra. It’s not targeting any cable operator, he added.


With over 9 million subscribers, Tata Sky is the second-largest DTH service provider in the country, after Dish TV.


Last December, Lok Sabha passed the Cable Television Networks (Regulation)

Amendment Bill, 2011, which makes it compulsory for cable companies to convert their analogue system to digital in a phased manner from June 2012.


Consequently, in the first phase of digitisation, India’s top four metros – Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata – will have to replace all analog television networks with digital transmission from July 1, 2012.


This means that all cable subscribers would need to get digital STBs in order to ensure that their TVs don’t go blank. By March next year, as many as 38 cities across the country would be brought into the digital fold.


While phase 1 has around 10 million TV homes in the four metros, over 90 million analogue cable TV homes are estimated to convert to digital by the end of fourth phase in December 2014.


Stakes are indeed high for DTH players who have a ready, captive base of millions of analogue cable TV customers, who just need to install a digital set top box in their homes.


“DTH is expected to grow at a healthy CAGR of 20 per cent for the next 5-7 years,” said Abhishek Chauhan, Senior Consultant, ICT Practice, Frost & Sullivan, South Asia & Middle East. DTH contribution would increase to more than 30 per cent to overall the pay TV market, reducing the cable providers’ contribution to less than 65 per cent, he says. While the number of DTH households in the country is set to go up from 37 million in 2011 to 86 million by 2016, digital cable would see its subscriber base jump from a mere 6 million to 75 million, according to a recent FICCI-KPMG report.


The number of cable and satellite (C&S) households is estimated to reach approximately 176 million by 2016, of which paid C&S households is estimated at 168 million, representing 89 per cent of total TV households. In 2011,146 million households in India had television sets; 119 million of which used cable or satellite services, says the report.


While Tata Sky has been relentless in its campaign against cable, Dish TV has a different strategy. “Direct attack on cable operators is a short-lived approach,” said Salil Kapoor, Chief Operating Officer, Dish TV. Differentiated offerings and emotional connect with users is a sustainable strategy, he added. Dish TV has, in fact, tied up with neighbourhood operators to push its own set-top boxes and install connections.


Meanwhile, Tata Sky has been running a campaign to shed its premium image and spread awareness about the impending digitisation and the value-added services that it offers.


Perceptions on pricing in multiple television households, vacation time charges, relocation charges and prices about offerings are some of the issues that ‘Poochne mein kya jaata hain’ campaign started to address since last September. Created by O&M, the commercials urge consumers to ask while underlining the range of offerings.


“Poochne mein kya jaata hai campaign was our way of telling customers that it’s possible to get a world-class service at an affordable price,” said Mr Mehra of Tata Sky. The latest campaign in this series informs one about the affordability of DTH services.


Sonu & Cookie (characters from the last campaign), try to find items which are cheaper than Tata Sky. But every time they bring one to the shop, the shopkeeper surprises them by informing them that Tata Sky’s package is even cheaper.


‘Get the quality of DTH at the price of cable,’ says a print commercial of Den Networks, one of the largest multi-system operators having presence in a number of states, just a few months back. And a subsequent radio ad raised the pitch by mocking at DTH players – ‘DTH stands for Don’t Try at Home.’


Tata Sky was quick to come up with a tit-for-tat print advertisement – “World-class digital box or any other dabba. What will you choose?”


“Den has been the first cable TV MSO in India to launch a nationwide brand campaign, created by Bates,” said a Den Networks spokesperson, adding that different players will experiment with different types of messages and campaigns to attract subscribers.


Digital cable has some inherent advantages such as weather-proof services that are not interrupted by rain, service through the local cable operator who is known to the household for years and is just a phone call away, to address any technical or service queries, the spokesperson says.


While such kinds of advertisements may be attention-grabbing tactics, they also help consumers in making a better choice, say advertising and brand experts.


“These are attention-grabbing tactics as consumers are in the process of making up their minds,” said Jehil Thakkar, Head, Media and Entertainment, KPMG. While now there is an opportunity for DTH players to acquire analogue subscribers from cable, the latter would obviously try its best to keep users under its fold, he added.


Most advertising that we see around are intra-category fights, driven on the shoulders of brands such as Pepsi vs Coke, Rin vs Surf, Bajaj vs Hero. However, it’s the category versus category fight, for example GSM Vs CDMA, which is the game changer, say brand experts.


In a fight like this, end consumers stand to gain, said Prathap Suthan, Chief Creative Officer of Bang in the Middle, an independent ad agency. “And this is exactly what is expected when it gets into a category versus category fight.”


Tata Sky is clearly and visibly a better constructed and sustained brand among DTH players, feels Suthan. “When you stand for a category, and you represent a category (just as Tata Sky has done), other brands will look small or will be made to look small.”


The other DTH brands, it seems, have sort of abdicated the position of category leadership to Tata Sky, he added.


Source: The Economic Times
Copyright © 2012, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved


Post a Comment 

Comments are closed.

Today's Top Stories