Tata Sky to launch HDTV, more interactive channels this year

Tata Sky to launch HDTV, more interactive channels this year

The company will launch its HD service this year, ahead of Commonwealth Games to be held in October 2010. It will also introduce interactive channels in the gaming and education space.

Besides, it plans to push personal video recorder (PVR) set-top boxes which is witnessing an increasing demand by families trying to keep up with their favourite, but overlapping, shows.

Tata Sky is placed third in the seven-player market with competitors like Dish TV, Sun Direct, Airtel Digital, Reliance Big, DD Direct and now Videocon D2H.
"Every DTH operator today is offering almost the same channels at competitive pricing. It will be the interactive services and the additional features that would help differentiate between the operators," Tata Sky Chief Marketing Officer Vikram Mehra said.

Mehra added that the country is ready for new technologies in TV viewing and that the company would launch its HD service this year.The HD market is expected to be big with many consumer durable companies like Samsung, LG and Sony launching full HD televisions.

While Discovery has already launched its new HD channel, Doordarshan also plans to launch channels on the same platform around Commonwealth Games, slated to be held in October 2010.

South-based Sun Direct is the only other operator offering HD service as of now.
Currently, the Tata group owns 70 per cent stake in Tata Sky while 20 per cent is with Star group and the remaining is being held by Singapore-based Temasek Holdings.

Tata Sky, which has about 4.5 million customers, also plans to focus on interactive services to differentiate its offerings."Our interactive services have been gaining popularity among viewers. Over the next 12 months or so, you will see us pushing more interactive services around areas like education and gaming," Mehra said.
Tata Sky offers 10 interactive services around education, gaming, shopping, cooking and religion.

The company also plans to introduce new films on its pay-per-view platform 'Showcase'."We have showcased over a million views on the platform. We will continue to bring new content onto the platform," he said.
On plans to push PVR systems, Mehra said the company was enthused at customers' response to Tata Sky + (Plus) and it was already contributing about 10 per cent in the monthly sales.

Mehra said going forward "the focus of our marketing campaigns would be on students and housewives, who might lose out on their favourite programmes because of exams and cricket matches."

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