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 Broadcasters to split feed for DTH platform

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PostSubject: Broadcasters to split feed for DTH platform   07/09/08, 10:51 am

Companies may soon find it 10-15 per cent more expensive to advertise on entertainment channels that are beamed to direct-to-home (DTH) and digital cable platforms compared to the analogue cable platform.

That is because subscriber viewing patterns of digital subscribers (DTH and digital cable households) are now being measured separately by TAM Media, which measures viewership of channels and programmes. This will open a new revenue stream for the DTH operators, who tend to make losses on each subscriber acquisition because of offering the DTH connections at highly subsidised rates, experts say.

According to Media Partners Asia, by the end of 2008, there may be over 10.3 million subscribers of digital pay television like DTH and digital cable (offered by Hathaway, InCable, WWIL, Digicable, among other cable companies) representing nearly 13 per cent affluent subscribers of the overall 80 million cable homes.

This means the leading pay channel broadcasters like Zee TV, Star TV, Sony TV, among others, will ultimately split the channel-feed between DTH and analogue cable because the leading TV audience measurement company TAM Media has begun monitoring the subscribers of DTH and digital cable platforms, who represent a higher disposable income consumers by the media buyers. Currently, TAM does not give measurement data separately and most of the data on viewership is based on those who receive cable through analog distribution system.

This move will also result in the fragmentation of advertisers too, experts say.

"Those who’d like to reach a pan-India viewership will continue to advertise on the analogue cable feed, while advertisers who want to reach high-end consumers residing in big towns will use the DTH and digital cable platform," a Delhi-based media planner says.

This means Zee TV may sell the ad-spots on its channels to a different set of advertisers for the DTH feed (reaching only the DTH subscribers), while it may have an altogether different lot for the analogue cable platform, experts say.

"Our analysis shows the subscribers of digital television content (primarily DTH) are spending 20 per cent more time watching television and consume more than 10 per cent additional channels per day vis-a-vis the analogue cable subscribers. This will surely interest the advertisers," says LV Krishnan, chief executive, TAM Media.

Broadcasters say they are gearing up to split their feed based on the demographics of consumers. "Both advertisers and broadcasters will gain from this exercise. While advertisers may reduce their ad budgets, they will choose to buy the spots at higher rates than the analogue cable feed," says a senior executive working for a leading entertainment channel.

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