HD DTH (High Definition – Direct to Home) is an emerging revenue channel in India, especially for established DTH players such as Airtel and Tata Sky. Both know that HD can expand their customer base and also increase ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) for them. And hence, it is but obvious that they are pitted against each other in this. (This is not to say that Dish TV and Sun TV are not major players – I have picked up Airtel and Tata Sky because the marketing campaigns run by them are the focus of this post).
Check out the advertising campaigns by the two first:
As you can see, both the ads are positioned on the exact same message – extra-fine clarity with HD, enabling the viewer to recall the faintest of details. Taken individually, both the ads have a splendid recall and the message is sent across very clearly to the viewer. The problem is when both of them are considered together (which can easily happen, given that they are both investing havily in media spends, bringing in a lot of airtime at prime-time slots). When viewed together, there seems to be very less differentiation between the two ads. So you end up convinced that HD can give great picture clarity, but you would not have anything to choose between Airtel and Tata Sky (which is why I call this a battle between mirrored sides)
Comparatively, Dish TV has a set of different ads, in which they talk about other value-adds that they offer, in the form of a-la-carte channels, properly pre-selected channel packages etc. Reliance has also brought in something new on the lines of a loyalty program, with redeemable reward points. Watch the campaign below (I couldn’t find the Dish TV campaign online)
Hence, I would really like if the DTH vendors introduce some innovation in their USP model. If you recall, the entry of DTH in India, with Tata Sky et al was also based on the same concept – better clarity over existing cable operators. Now, they are using the same proposition to upgrade customers from Regular to HD DTH that they used to induce upgrade from Cable TV to DTH. They forgot that the investment add-on that is required from DTH to HD DTH is, as of now, not comparable to the value-added. The customer does not really need an upgrade to HD on the parameter of clarity. On the contrary, the customer is more likely to be lured into an upgrade by features such as reward points, live telecast recording (initiated by Tata Sky Plus) etc. These, in my opinion, should have been the focus points for the operators.
Let’s see if this warfare evolves to better quality marketing tactics in the future.
Note: Two related points I want to make here:
1) If you notice the HD DTH ads carefully, no one brings to notice the fact that for true HD output, you not only need an HD DTH operator, but also an HD-compatible TV, and even more critically, channel content being filmed in HD. So, the fact that hardly 10-12 channels (mostly from the Star network) have switched to HD telecast is usually missed by the customer while purchasing. And this may lead to a strongly negative post-purchase dissonance for him as he would feel cheated
2) Interestingly, a couple of months back, Dish TV and Airtel were involved in a similar ‘mirrored campaign’ competition! Watch the ads here: Dish TV., Airtel. (Repeat offence from Airtel ! And you already know what my opinion on Airtel Marketing tactics is at the moment)