The country’s largest direct-to-home (DTH) operator, Dish TV, with 7.3 million subscribers, has now launched high definition DTH service offering five high-definition (HD) channels. Managing director Jawahar Goel speaks to Ashish Sinha on the company’s plans and targets. Excerpts:
What is the future of HD in the Indian broadcasting space?
HD television in the country is what colour television was after the Asian Games in 1982. According to my estimate, there will be 30-40 HD channels within the current fiscal. We are launching five HD channels, but customers will only pay for four and get the Fifa World Cup on ESPN free of cost. It is the future of television viewing. We will continue to add more HD channels as and when broadcasters launch them in the market.
What are the investments and targets planned for Dish TV HD service?
I have kept a very achievable target. We should sell over 60,000 boxes of Dish TV HD in this fiscal. On our part, the HD service on the Dish TV platform should require an investment of Rs 15 crore this year. In the introductory offer that will last all through this year, we will give the Dish TV HD box for Rs 5,990. We will launch exchange schemes for the existing Dish TV customers as well.
Our subsidy on HD box is almost similar to the normal box – around Rs 2,500 per box.
Tell us about the late foray in HD by Dish TV.
I am aware that some DTH operators have already launched HD services without enough dedicated HD channels. We did not want to do that. Our HD service comes with dedicated HD channels—Zee TV HD, Zee Cinema HD—apart from other HD contents.
What is your take on demand for reduction of licence fees to 6% of revenue?
We are hopeful that the government will accept our longstanding demand. There is substantial progress in this direction. Hopefully, with the roll out of the goods and servicestax, we will get what we want.