From a product strategy point of view I liked the move from Tata Sky to launch their premium DTH service: Tata Sky Plus. Essentially it converts your DTH set top box into a personal video recorder, allowing you to pause, record and rewind live TV. It immediately sets them apart from the competitive DTH space in India. The launch TVC featuring Aamir Khan and Gul Panag (inspired casting, I must say) is quite endearing. While the plot of ‘man wedded to cricket and woman wedded to soap operas’ has been done before in several variations before, the realistic approach and the acting makes it watchable.
As a Tata Sky user, I am also seeing the ads on my home screen on TV. Gul Panag is also used to educate the features of the service – she is seen chatting with her friends through promo spots on Tata Sky. There are parallels with mobile handset usage – when a model becomes too ‘common’ there are a set of consumers who compulsively upgrade. Tata Sky Plus may appeal to those early adopters. The features also allow for creative use of activation ideas – imagine pausing a live cricket match at a Sports Bar and working up the crowd (as a free idea that’s not bad, eh?).
Is this service the beginning of TIVO-like launches in India? If these premium services gain popularity it will have a lot of implications for advertisers & agencies in India. With Tata Sky Plus, those who record a program for viewing later are most likely to fast forward the ads. Life may not be so ‘jinga-la-la’ for them in the days to come.