DTH rates come crashing down

Mumbai, Jan 1 | Updated: Jan 2 2006, 05:52am hrs
With the advent of competition, the rates of direct-to-home (DTH) service have come crashing down this year. Two years ago, when India's first DTH service Dish TV was launched, the installation charge was Rs 7,000 while the monthly subscription charge for the service was Rs 600.

Today, with Doordarshan launching its own DTH service, the ADAE Group planning a foray into DTH and Tata-Star JV on the verge of entering the market, installation charge is already down to Rs 4,900 while subscription has crashed to one-fourth to Rs 150 per month.

DTH cost to the consumer, however, is set to come down further. TV makers LG Electronics India and Mirc Electronics are planning to enter into a fee-sharing tie-up with Star India and Zee Telefilms Ltd to launch factory-fitted set-top DTH decoders.

Consumers in A+, A and B+ towns pay Rs 180 monthly fees for Star TV, and Rs 150 for Zee TV channels. According to Dish TV, CEO, Sunil Khanna, "We are planning to increase our number of channels from 135 to 200 channels at subscription rates of Rs 150. We have been giving away hardware at security deposits and rentals. In February 2006, we are also planning to start with movie channels at a subscription price of Rs 40."

LG Electronics India, national sales head CTVs, Amitabh Tiwari said, Due to the growing demand for pay channels and lack of reach of Zee and Star bouquet of direct-to-home (DTH) services signals in rural markets, our recently launched conventional DTH TV at Rs 11,500 in the rural market has failed to take off. Hence, we now plan to start commercial production of economy model of flat DTH TVs at Rs 7,990 in Noida in March 2006 for urban markets.

Competitor, Mirc Electronics Ltd is also gearing up with new plans to sell IGO DTH flat TVs in urban markets in 2006. Prior to the move, the company launched IGO conventional Dish Magic DTH TV at Rs 6,200 mostly with Doordarshan targeted at rural market.