Cricket fever boosts HD set-top box sales

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 01, 2011

The ICC World Cup has given a major push to the take off of high-definition (HD) television in India. DTH players such as Dish TV and Airtel Digital have seen robust sales of HD set-top-boxes in the past couple of weeks.

“We have seen a 10-fold growth since the World Cup has begun,” said Mr Salil Kapoor, Chief Operating Officer, Dish TV, the largest DTH player by volume. However, Mr Kapoor did not specify numbers.

Ahead of the World Cup, Dish TV launched a bouquet of 30 HD channels, the highest number of channels offered by any operator. The company claimed it had 15,000 HD subscribers and said it was targeting three-four subscribers by March 2012.

Besides cricket, the advantage of having 30 HD channels has helped Dish TV to add subscribers at a faster clip, Mr Kapoor said. “We soon expect to have some 10 per cent of our new subscriber additions to go in for HD format,” Mr Kapoor added.

Mr Sugato Banerjee, Chief Marketing Officer, Airtel Digital TV, said the company has seen a spurt in sales of HD boxes in the past one week. The company's strategy of stocking boxes with dealers coupled with a promotional tie-up with television manufacturer Sony has aided the off-take, he said.

Mr Banerjee expects the momentum to be sustained during Indian Premier League, starting April 8.

As against a subscriber addition of some 1.5 lakh between September and February this year, the overall HD market has expanded by about 1 lakh boxes in the past one month since the ICC World Cup has begun, sources said. The fact that ESPN's HD World Cup broadcast has no ads has also helped.

Tata Sky's Chief Marketing Officer, Mr Vikram Mehra, said the Babloo ad campaign and offering highlights on demand have raised sales. However, Mr Mehra did not disclose numbers.

Published on April 01, 2011

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