Why Tata Sky Has Not Launched a Hybrid Set-Top Box Yet and Why It Does Not Need To

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A lot has been happening in the DTH industry since the start of this year. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has brought new rules into implementation, and these have shaped the DTH industry to its current position. However, if we look at the big picture of the DTH industry, although the industry ARPU is set to increase in the coming times, there is also the fact to consider that the DTH industry is losing subscribers at a rapid pace. This loss of subscriber base has mostly been in the name of OTT platforms and the subsequent rise of the monthly rentals of DTH subscriptions. There is no doubt about the fact that the subscribers who are drawn to OTT services have let go of their DTH connections due to the rising costs and then started using other alternatives platform. Now, in all of these changes, I have also seen a massive shift in the subscriber composition between the DTH operators. While Tata Sky has ranked on the top of the list, now Dish TV ranks on the second position. This somehow maps to why Tata Sky has not yet introduced a hybrid Set-Top Box in the market. Read ahead to find out why I say this.


Shift In Consumer Behaviour of the DTH Industry

As of now, what I see currently in the DTH industry is a new wave of Hybrid Set-Top Boxes which are being launched back to back by the various DTH operators. This simply points to one direction. There is an underlying feeling in the DTH industry that the OTT platforms are stealing away subscribers from the DTH companies and rightly so, I see the change happening right in front of my eyes. With the penetration of high-speed data now reaching the nooks and corners of the country, the subscribers are currently being exposed to various content platforms. On top of that, the telecom operators have found the subscription to these OTT platforms as the best kind of additional benefit that they could extend to their subscribers free of cost. This has led to a very extensive adaption of OTT platforms with the subscribers.

Tata Sky Has a Weapon Against Smart Set-Top Boxes: It’s Called Tata Sky Binge

Been watching the shift happen over the span of a few months, I have seen the rollout of the hybrid Set-Top Box being timed perfectly well after the launch of the new tariff regime. This is being done by the operators to keep the subscribers engaged on their platform, albeit it is for using other content services rather than watching the satellite TV channels on the TV. Now, this is where Tata Sky has played smart as compared to all the other operators. Instead of introducing a totally new offering, the DTH operator has rolled out a different service called the Tata Sky Binge. For the unaware, Tata Sky Binge costs Rs 249 per month, and it offers an Amazon Fire TV Stick to the subscribers along with a complimentary subscription to these applications.

Subscribers are Drawn More to OTT as Compared to DTH and Tata Sky Understands

I believe that why Tata Sky has attained the top spot is because it has resonated with the subscriber in understanding that they are more interested in the subscription of these OTT apps rather than the medium through which they watch these shows. As such, when it actually comes to making a decision, the only difference between the hybrid Set-Top Boxes and a service such as Tata Sky Binge is that of a single HDMI connection behind your TV screen instead of two. However, for the subscribers who are already hooked on to these platforms, the Tata Sky Binge service is the best option as it gets them complimentary subscription to these apps, and also Android TV access for a meagre monthly subscription instead of simply a Set-Top Box which amalgamates two of those and leaves the subscription to be borne only by the subscriber.

On the business side of things as well, Tata Sky has conveniently managed to up its ARPU as the Tata Sky Bing service will ensure a stream of increased rental from the subscribers. This is also better from the subscribers’ perspective as well, since they avoid paying for a new Set-Top Box and as well as for the subscription of these OTT services. That’s how I look at the situation of Tata Sky when it comes to catching up with the competition in terms of Hybrid Set-Top Box. The simple answer to the question is that it does not need to. Tell us in the comments down below whether you would buy a Set-Top Box or prefer a monthly subscription service like Tata Sky Binge which gives you the subscriptions as well as an Amazon Fire TV Stick.

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Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.

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