The Digitisation Bonanza

Feb 26 2013, 03:35 IST
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SummaryDTH players are focussing on customised interactive services to differentiate their product offerings from digital cable operators. And the default channel or the landing page of a DTH set-top box will not only be key to offering a wider choice of content but also a new, innovative avenue for brands to engage with their customers.

I often wonder whether any of us seriously realise the impact television makes on our daily lives!

TV, to a great extent, governs the choices we make in life, be it the next dandruff-free shampoo, the healthiest butter or the most effective anti-ageing cream. Television’s unmatched reach, mass popularity and strong visual impact makes it one of the most popular medium ever for advertising and brand engagement. Even as a single channel Doordarshan defined consumer preferences in the ‘80s. Later, the cable TV of the ‘90s with its 100-plus channels offered multiple choices to the viewers for the first time in the history of Indian TV. And today, as our choice of products and brands multiplies manifold times, the humble cable-powered television too is graduating to an entertainment medium that provides an enhanced viewing pleasure offering better picture clarity and much wider content.

According to some estimates, by end of 2013, half the world’s TV sets (approximately 636 million households) will receive digital TV signals, and India is expected to emerge as the largest direct-to-home (DTH) market in the world touching 100 million subscribers by 2018. Digitisation has, indeed, provided the much-needed impetus to the cable and satellite industry, and provided customers a wider choice of channels, enhanced viewing pleasure, and an interactive experience all integrated in a single screen. As the industry rolls out the digitisation agenda, it has spun a revolution that transcends the third screen to an infotainment platform from a pure entertainment one, and opens avenues for marketers to micro-target their customers with well-defined preferences and consumption patterns.

While the customer gets a wider choice of content and a preferential set of channels, the digital onset has concurrently opened a new, innovative avenue for brands to engage with their market audiences. The now-aborted release of the movie Vishwaroopam by Kamal Haasan on the DTH platform alongside its theatrical release was one such innovation that would surely see light of the day someday in some form or the other. The concept, first of its kind in India, opens up a new era for DTH, television and the entertainment industry. It opens up opportunity for other film producers to release their films, especially small-budget or niche films on DTH targeting well-defined, vernacular, and/or geographically-segregated audiences.

Digitisation will help drive away the current “sample size” based TRP system to a more accurate television audience measurement (TAM) rating, and advertisers would be able to

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