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Business News/ Companies / News/  Dish TV aims at raising its efficiency by lowering capex, customer acquisition cost

Dish TV aims at raising its efficiency by lowering capex, customer acquisition cost

Dish TV India launches Dish TV Smart+ initiative, offering OTT services with linear TV subscriptions at no extra cost, aiming to improve customer retention.

Dish TV India, the country's first direct-to-home (DTH) service provider, boasts of over 11 million active subscribers. (Photo: Mint)Premium
Dish TV India, the country's first direct-to-home (DTH) service provider, boasts of over 11 million active subscribers. (Photo: Mint)

Dish TV India, the country's first direct-to-home (DTH) service provider, has embarked on an ambitious journey to streamline its business operations, focusing on reducing capital expenditure, enhancing customer retention, and minimising customer acquisition costs, its top executive said.

The DTH operator, boasting over 11 million active subscribers, on Monday announced its new initiative, Dish TV Smart+, which will provide built-in over-the-top (OTT) services alongside linear TV subscriptions to all its customers at no additional cost.

Dish TV Smart+ enables both new and existing subscribers of Dish TV and sister brand d2h to stream OTT apps seamlessly across devices.

Also Read: Unhappy shareholders boot out Dish TV board, again

While OTT aggregator apps are not novel in the market, with competitors like Tata Play and Airtel Digital TV offering Tata Play Binge and Airtel Xstream, respectively, customers have to incur extra charges for OTT bundles on these platforms.

"We wanted to do something disruptive," said Manoj Dobhal, CEO of Dish TV India. "Our aim is to provide a seamless entertainment experience that integrates traditional linear television with the burgeoning world of OTT content."

Dobhal elaborated on the financial rationale driving this innovation, emphasising the potential for enhanced customer retention and organic growth.

"Our industry has been witnessing customer attrition. However, we have observed that adding layers of service enhances retention rates significantly," Dobhal stated. "Even a modest improvement in retention, say by 0.5% per month, could translate into a substantial gain of around 1 million customers annually."

Also read: Entire Dish TV board ousted in shareholder coup

As of now, there are 20+ OTT apps available to select from, including regional as well as top apps like Sony LIV, Zee5 and Disney+Hotstar.

Despite facing challenges at the promoter level due to invoked pledged shares, Dish TV remains resolute in its operational focus. Dobhal assured stakeholders that business operations continue unabated, with strategic steps taken to reduce capex, particularly on set-top boxes.

“Our business continues to be strong, and we are taking steps to cut capex on the set-top-boxes, which is around 400 crore at present," he said.

Dish TV envisions a future without traditional set-top-boxes

Looking ahead, Dish TV India envisions a future without traditional set-top-boxes, signalling a fundamental shift in its operational paradigm. "In the next year or so, you will see us moving away completely from set-top-boxes," Dobhal revealed. "This transformation will not only save us significant capital expenditure but also position us as leaders in the evolving entertainment landscape."

Also Read: Battle for Dish TV control nears end

In addition to its strategic overhaul, Dish TV has revamped its rural offering, Zing, positioning it as a formidable competitor to state-run free-to-air service - DD Free Dish.

“The introduction of Zing Super, a revamped offering with extended box lifespans — 4 years instead of 2 — and enhanced value propositions, has already struck a chord with consumers, particularly in rural markets," he said. "Customers in deep rural areas, predominantly Free Dish users, have embraced Zing Super. We're adding 50-60 thousand customers every month, and the response has been overwhelming. We already have 1.2 million subscribers there."

Zing Super boasts around 230 free-to-air channels, compared to 93 as claimed by DD Free Dish, and offers users the flexibility to subscribe to pay channels on an a-la-carte basis, thus enhancing consumer choice and convenience.

While currently not levying carriage fees on free-to-air channels, Dobhal foresees this as a potential revenue stream in the future, given the platform's expansive reach and value proposition. “Many of these channels are paying slot fees to Free Dish, I think in future, they will see the reason to pay us too," he said.

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Published: 23 Apr 2024, 07:09 PM IST
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