Tata Sky, one of the first players to setup DTH operations in the country, has been running an on demand and interactive audio–visual content platform called ‘Active Services’. Being easily accessible via a single button press on the Tata Sky Remote, the Active Services have been adopted readily by DTH subscribers.
Tata Sky claims to have an active presence in 36,000 towns and its subscriber count is over 11.5 million. Of these, 2.5 million subscribers avail Active Services. Though there is content for all age groups (Active Fun: 1–10 Years, Active English: Kids and Women, Active Cooking, Active Vedic Maths and Active Music), the Cooking and English channels are highly popular and this is where Tata Sky sees traction from advertisers as well.
Since such platforms are essentially educative and information dissipation based, advertisements too have to be in accordance to the theme. Food brands like Maggie, Britannia, McCain and a few others have opted to beam their promotional message on the Active Cooking channel, whereas Google has rightly chosen to broadcast its women focused activities on the Cooking and English Learning channels.
Needless to say, clearly demarcating channels will allow advertisers to target select demographics like children, women, adults or family as per the nature of the product or service.
Segmentation has never been possible in the world of television, which is quite easy in the digital realm. But Tata Sky’s platform offers ‘Packs’ that the subscriber can choose for the particular age group or gender. With the Government getting stricter with digitization of televised content, the Set–Top–Box (STB) is set to further penetrate the Indian household. More importantly, on–demand content will allow flexibility that was never before possible or accessible to an Indian TV watcher.
Other DTH players like Airtel have similar offerings too. However, as far as such advertising is concerned, the platform still appears to be off–limits. Still, Airtel does have promotional and paid listings on the platform through which it earns revenue. As for other players like Reliance, Sun DTH, Videocon D2H and such, the platforms seem barely interested in scaling up on demand content, let alone evolving it as a lucrative platform for targeted advertising.
Though a very niche avenue to advertisement, Tata Sky has opened up an exciting new opportunity to have a meaningful dialogue with the target audience. Will others follow suit?