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It’s Time The Cable TV & DTH Industry Started Acting Digital

DTH operator Dish TV will release “reach” data from its subscribers, according to IndianTelevision.com, quoting Dish TV CEO Venkateish. The data being released will on the basis of subscription information that DishTV has for its consumers, defining that as “reach”, and is indicative of potential viewership. Dish TV will release, from February 2014 onwards, the reach of each channel as a percentage of total platform reach. This means that channels that are largely a-la-carte will have lower reach as opposed to those channels that are in all the packs that consumers subscribe to.

Dish TV is the largest DTH operator in the country, with around 11 million subscribers. It makes around Rs 165 per subscriber (ARPU), with subscription revenues of Rs 537 crore in the last reported quarter, ending September 30th 2013.

MediaNama Take

The data that Dish TV is planning to release is more indicative of how many users could possibly be viewing a TV channel, rather than actual viewership. How this will affect advertising is unclear because agencies tend to rely of usage data from TAM. The TAM data will now be juxtaposed against subscription data.

DTH services do not have a return path, and given that India is digitizing services, opening up of a return path will help address the suspicions that exist regarding TAM data (remember the NDTV case that got thrown out due to jurisdiction issues?). Smart set-top-boxes (like the type Reliance Jio is planning) might provide that return path. A couple of years ago, we’d written about how TAM ratings can be disrupted.

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In our opinion, the real value will come for TV advertisers (since they advertise on the basis of time, and not cost-per-view), would be real time data. The percentage of reach data that Dish TV is promising is so 2008. The cable TV industry is digital now. It’s time they started acting digital.

A reminder of what we’d written then:

– Get Connected: Deploy a connected digital solution that delivers data in real time over the mobile Internet, which should result in with lower costs of collecting data.
– Large panel & randomization: Ensure that the panel size for this is at least three to five times that of TAM’s, with a wider geographical spread, because you have connected apps. This allows you to take a larger base than TAM’s, and randomise viewership even within that base.
– Smart TV & DTH Data: Tie up Smart TV manufacturers, DTH companies and cable operators for (anonymised) viewership data (this idea, via iDubba), showcased alongwith overall ratings data. In case of Smart TVs, it could be as simple as pushing an app over the air to a connected TV.
– Go Realtime: When it comes to data, there’s nothing quite as addictive as Realtime. If you’ve seen the Realtime stats on Google Analytics, it’s fascinating to look at what people are reading. Imagine there being realtime data on what people are watching at that very minute, or a list of the most popular shows in a particular part of the country or for an SEC category. Imagine getting data on the viewership of a Cricket match, as it builds up towards a last over finish.
– Go multi-platform for media planners: Allow advertising agencies and media planners the ability to look at data whereever they are, whenever they want. Once you’re collecting the data, give them iPhone and Android apps for viewing viewership stats.
– Go Social: integrate Twitter and second screen applications for social information for media planners. Right now, the digital advertising and TV advertising planners work separately, but the opportunity here is to give them social networking information and data that helps them make better decisions on the basis of what went viral on Facebook or started trending on Twitter.

Related:
Dish TV Adds 0.16M Subscribers in Q2-FY14; Lowest In 24 Quarters
What NDTV’s whistleblower said about TAM

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Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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