Update India’s Dish starts free set-tops -
India’s Dish starts free set-tops
Zee-backed DTH operator Dish TV has started giving away set-top boxes to new subscribers, ramping up competition in the sector.
Although it claims the offer is for a limited period (while “the stock lasts”) the move could spark a scramble for new subscribers among the country’s satellite DTH operators, if Dish’s competitors follow suit.
Dish is the market leader with a little over 3 million subs and to date has been charging new subscribers around Rs2,500 (US$60) for set-top boxes. Rival TataSky (backed 20% by News Corp’s Star TV and 80% by the Tatas Group) which has just reached 2 million subs, also currently charges for set-top boxes, albeit also a subsidised price. Back in February, TataSky announced it was dropping its set-top box price by 50% to Rs1499.
But Big TV, the new entrant backed by the Reliance Group, recently said that it would shortly launch with a set-top box offered for just Rs1,000, undercutting the existing players. Dish TV’s free set-top offer can be seen as a competitive response to Big TV’s launch.
Dish TV is offering the free set-tops to subscribers who pay upfront either Rs2,490, Rs2,990 or Rs3,990. The packaging is complicated, but subscribers can choose from a set of options for these prices, which include a package of channels plus a number of pay-per-view movies. Subscription periods range from three months to 18 months depending on the package chosen.