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Airtel DTH, Big TV cut home movie rates

May 11, 2009 15:45 IST
Watching movies on direct-to-home has become cheaper, with two major DTH operators, Airtel DTH and Big TV, slashing pay-per-view (PPV) prices of premiere (new) movies. While Airtel DTH has reduced prices of paid movie services by 33 per cent, Big TV has cut prices by around 50 per cent.

However, the other four players - Tata Sky, Dish TV, Sun Direct and Doordarshan - are unlikely to follow. Dish TV is offering premiere movies for around Rs 75 per view; Tata Sky offers Rs 25 but only on select movies like Slumdog Millionaire, while others levy around Rs 100 per movie.

Airtel DTH, a subsidiary of the Sunil Mittal-controlled Bharti Airtel, has slashed prices of new movies Aa Dekhen Zaara, Bara Ana, Dhonte Le Jayenge and Firaq, among others, to Rs 50. This is in comparison with the Rs 75 per film the DTH player used to charge for premieres.

Similarly, prices of movies like Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Ramchand Pakistani and The Dark Knight, among others, have also been reduced to Rs 50 (earlier Rs 75 per viewing).

The Anil Ambani groups Big TV has slashed PPV prices by around 50 per cent. The DTH service provider reduced prices, effective May 1, to Rs 50 from the earlier Rs 100.

Big TV has cut prices of movies like Oye Lucky Lucky Oye, Aa Dekhen Zaara, Meerabhai Not Out and President Is Coming, among others.

A Mumbai-based analyst, on condition of anonymity, said: India is still at a nascent stage as far as PPV is concerned, and with the country having a massive middle-class, there is huge potential for its growth.

At present, Korea has the most advanced market, followed by China. The DTH operators are building up their portfolio and cutting prices is a strategy to garner market share.
Rajesh S Kurup in Mumbai
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