DTH gaining popularity in Punjab, Haryana, but no sign of CAS

Chandigarh, May 30 | Updated: May 31 2007, 05:30am hrs
Direct to Home (DTH) was un heard of in this region comprising states of Punjab and Haryana a few years ago but in the last few months, people have lapped up DTH in a big way.

Enquries by FE reveal that Tata Sky, though a late entrant has been able to sell more than three lakh units in Punjab alone in just six months. In Chandigarh Union Territory, it has sold about 25,000 units in the last six months itself. Tata Sky has undoubtely emerged a leader in DTH sales in this region.

Deepak Rai Walia of Tata Sky claims that there was almost a "revolution in favour of DTH" as the informed consumers of these northern states are going for DTH. The freedom to access the channel of your choice has made it popular and consumers don't mind paying for it if they get it.This is driving the sales in Punjab, Haryana and union territory of Chandigarh. People are lapping up Direct To Home (DTH) in a big way here but there is no talk yet to enforce the Conditional Access System (CAS) in these states.

Tata Sky, Doordarshan and Zee Tele Films have been able to sell large number of units in Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula. Doordarshan though provides free channels but has not been able to enter the market in a big way. station Ashraf Sahil station director, Chandigarh Doordarshan, says, "Doordarshan had more than 60% viewership in remote areas of Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab".

CAS is a central subject and has not been launched in Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana for the time being.Under the Act, the deputy commissioners and sub divisional magistrates are to regulate the CAS but by far, nothing is heard of this in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. CAS makes it mandatory for broadcasters to provide pay channels through a set-top box. Doordarshan and many other channels are free-to-air, which means that they do not charge any money from those who want to see the programmes they broadcast. However, there are others, especially the popular entertainment channels like Zee, Star, ESPN etc. that charge money.

The cable operators had been opposing CAS. Zee Tele Film official said in most cases these operators had not been giving exact number of homes or subscribers and so opposition.