The recent report about the TRAI trying to rein in the service provers (TV channel and DTH service providers) is quite amusing. This shows how hopelessly TRAI and service providers are outdated and how much they are wallowing in Marketing Myopia. Both TRAI and the service providers are inward-looking, not focused on customer needs, self-preening and have fallen in love their products services and are blissfully unaware that customer views, preferences and viewing habits have changed drastically.
TRAI proudly claims that viewers’ cable bills would be down by 12% on an average and that each channel will be available at Rs 12 instead off Rs19 per month? Excuse me, in what time are you living TRAI? The days of Cable operators and service providers holding the customers to ransom are a thing of the past. The bouquet pricing that the broadcasters had thrust down the unwilling customer’s throat is outdated and no longer neither welcomed nor appreciated.
Let us take an example. A viewer wanting a sports channel has to pay Rs 19/- a month irrespective of whether he watches the channel for a day or a month. One channel in a year will cost 228/-. Only one channel! And all major sports get broadcast on different channels of Star Sports, Ten sports etc.
The viewers end up shelling out a lot for the live telecast of Cricket, Football matches like the world cup, Euro Cup, EPL, La Liga, Grand Slam tennis, Olympics, Athletics and other major sporting events.
If one were to cut the cord (I did) the experience is liberating. Cutting the cord is cutting the umbilical cord (the cord that the viewer attaches to the television, like the cable wire or the DTH cable) that tied us to the TV.
With the arrival of the streaming services, Cable TV and DTH are slowly but surely becoming obsolete. And with entertainment being consumed personally and in private, it might prove quite detrimental to the Cable wallahs and the DTH operators unless they become market savvy and adapt to changing market scenario.
The cost of a Hotstar VIP service is Rs 365/- per year. One rupee per day! Hotstar beams live all the Indian cricket matches and also live telecasts the EPL matches! Rs 365/- a year is quite a steal. Add to that the movies and the TV shows and the viewers' cup floweth full!
Similarly, Sony LIV has a Rs 499/- package for one year only for Indian content and for cricket telecasts that feature the Australian, English and other cricket team matches played outside India. It also telecasts live the LA LIGA (Spanish Football) league.
Movies and TV show lovers can avail Amazon Prime available at Rs 999/- per year and Netflix at 2400/- per year. All put together the total comes to Rs 4263/- per year and Rs 365/- per month (Hotstar, Rs 365/-, Sony LIV, Rs 499/-, Amazon Prime, Rs 999/- and Netflix, Rs 2400/-).
If one is prudent and wants to cut down costs and subscribe only to only Hotstar, SONY LIV and Amazon Prime the costs come down to Rs 1863/- per year and Rs 155 per month. And if one is interested only in sports, the cost can be further be pruned down to Rs 864/- which comes to only Rs 72/- per month.
The pluses are many. The telecast is in High definition; one can watch at their convenience. We need not be tied to the television, and viewing can happen when one is mobile or from multiple locations. The viewer can watch the same content on multiple devices like TV (with Amazon Firestick, Chromecast), Mobile phones, laptop, desktop, I-Pad etc. three to four people can watch different content as many steaming sites allow multiple sign-ins.
We can watch the latest movies and shows from the comfort of our homes. We can watch with time-lapse and binge-watch too!
The viewership figures displayed on Hotstar when India plays T20I or ODI are mouth-watering. On many occasions, the data rake up to 8 million or more. Eighty lakh people are watching only on Hotstar and that too only in India. The shape of things to come!
Of Course, some disadvantages do exist. The viewers have to pay extra for either a broadband connection or opt for a mobile service provider who provides good internet speed. In recent times Reliance JIO mobile speeds have slowed down to a pathetic level. But the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages by a very long shot!