Dec 9, 2008

Business - Sun Direct eyes 35-40 pc of DTH market in Mumbai; ad spend pegged at Rs 7 cr

Sun Direct is quite bullish about Mumbai. The DTH service provider has earmarked Rs 2,000 crore for its pan-India expansion plans. Sun has already spent Rs 7 crore on advertising in the Mumbai market alone and is planning to spend Rs 50 crore in the Hindi belt. Sun Direct is an 80:20 joint venture between the Maran family and Astro Group of Malaysia.

Its 360-degree campaign for Mumbai will break in the next two days across all mediums. Sun Direct, which has already captured 65 per cent of the DTH market in South India, aims to re-work the same magic in Mumbai with at least 35-40 per cent of the market share. The DTH firm is also targeting three million subscribers at the end of this fiscal year, March 31, 2009.

Sun Direct has already invested Rs 150 crore for this fiscal year, of which Rs 50 crore has been earmarked for the Northern market. The total investment made for the whole campaign is Rs 2,000 crore, which includes the set-top boxes, manpower infrastructure and so on.

The already cluttered market in Mumbai is witnessing some intense competition, which has also lead to price war which has grown more intense with the launch of Big TV. Now, with Sun Direct also in Mumbai, the DTH company has already announced that it would continue to offer free dish and set-top boxes with every connection. With MPEG 4 technology becoming the norm these days, Sun Direct, too, is offering the latest technology. However, its primary focus remains consolidating its pan-India presence and then taking forward its innovations.

With an increased clutter of DTH players in India’s financial capital, the need of the hour is to create some sort of differentiation in the market.

When asked how Sun Direct would differentiate itself from the competition, Tony D’Silva, COO, Sun Direct, replied, “We have tracked the consumer behaviour and hence, it lead us to offer them both services and packages that are value for money as we have custom designed packages for every state and region. For instance, 60 per cent of the population in Maharashtra loves Marathi content, therefore, for audiences who love regional content, we have ‘My Pack’, which consists of local channels of that region costing Rs 299 for 100 channels and four months of subscription free.”

In terms of ARPUs, Sun Direct aims to reach its breakeven point in about five years’ time, depending on the stability of the dollar.

Sun Direct completed its second phase of expansion in September 2008 with its services in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi and the NCR as part of its pan-India expansion programme.

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