Tata Sky to sell advertising space on its interactive platform

Tata Sky to sell advertising space on its interactive platform

One of India’s largest companies in the direct-to-home (DTH) satellite television space, Tata Sky Ltd, has lined up several content and marketing initiatives to attract more subscribers, differentiate its services and create new revenue streams.

The company, an 80:20 joint venture between the Tata group and Rupert Murdoch’s Star India, plans to sell space on its interactive platform to advertisers. Called opt-in interaction, it allows advertisers to provide information on their products, promotions and other activities to consumers on Tata Sky’s interactive platform.

“This is not an intrusive service. Here we will not be airing ads or brand pitches in the middle of a programme. Instead, it will be an independent feature where subscribers willing to know more about a brand will have to press a button on their TV remote and they will be able to directly interact with the brand," said Vikram Mehra, chief marketing officer, Tata Sky.

Tata Sky has priced this service at Rs20 lakh for 10 days. There is no limit on time because this is an interactive service; and if a consumer wants to interact repeatedly with a brand, he or she can do so.

In contrast, an advertiser buying a 10-second spot on prime time television will end up paying between Rs1 lakh and Rs2.5 lakh.

“This is our initial pricing plan. As the service gathers momentum and we build our consumer base, we will obviously revise it," said Mehra.

Interestingly, only one advertiser will be allowed to be on the platform at a time. “So, for 10 days, only one advertiser will get to run its campaign," Mehra added. Consumer products company Whirlpool of India Ltd has signed up to be the first such advertiser.

Tata Sky also plans to introduce several content-oriented features for subscribers including two new learning and entertainment features for children aged 3-11. This is in addition to Active Whiz Kid, a feature Tata Sky launched in September 2006.

The new features also include those targeted at women, older people, men and teenagers. While some of these features are free, others will be at a fee. “Almost 70% of our total subscriber base is from SEC A (socio-economic classification A). These subscribers are willing to spend Rs10 on services that enhance their television viewing options," said Mehra.

According to him, the free content features would help Tata Sky acquire new consumers; the fee-based services would bolster the firm’s subscription revenue; and the initiative with advertisers would help augment revenue.