Oct 17, 2008

Business - India;Big TV slash prices by over 40%

Ashish Sinha

Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (R-ADAG) is all set to begin a price war in the direct-to-home (DTH) market by offering its connection about 43 per cent lower than any of the existing players. Big TV will offer its DTH service for Rs 1,490, while the lowest-priced connection is currently being offered by Dish TV at Rs 2,190, followed by Tata Sky at Rs 2,400.

Big TV, which is the fourth entrant in the DTH space, is selling its service Rs 700 lower than its competitors. “This will be one of the biggest price cut offer by a DTH player for the coming Diwali season,” says Arun Kapoor, chief executive of Big TV.

“We are launching our Diwali offerings for a limited period starting October 17. The offer is simple — get a Big TV connection at Rs 1,490 with three months of free subscription. There are 64 channels, including Star and Sony. Not only that, the video-on-demand service will also be bundled free for a month along with this offer,” says Kapoor.

However, he refused to share the current subscriber numbers of Big TV that was launched about two months ago. Currently, there are over 7.5 million DTH subscribers in the country. The latest entrant in the market is Airtel’s digital TV DTH service from telecom service provider Bharti Airtel.

The current DTH market has five private players and one state owned free-to-air DTH service. Of the five private DTH operators, Big TV is offering the maximum number of channels (200-plus) and at the lowest price points.

Both Dish TV and Tata Sky executives said they were not looking at any Diwali specific price-cut offers on their respective DTH services. While Tata Sky is likely to announce some schemes on its personal video recorders (PVR) called Tata Sky Plus, Dish TV is also looking at launching its own digital video recorders very soon, sources said.

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