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DD Freedish is complement, not competitor: Tata Play MD and CEO Harit Nagpal

In India, there is a customer base for every medium, so both TV and digital apps will discover their respective audiences and coexist harmoniously, said Nagpal

In relation to the growing preference for DD Freedish among new customers, Harit Nagpal, MD and CEO of Tata Play, emphasised that he views DD Freedish not as a competitor but as a complement to his own platform. He elaborated that the progression from free-to-air to pay TV is a natural sequence, preserving the affordability and accessibility of television for a wider audience.

Nagpal believes that this approach maintains the delicate balance between catering to diverse consumer needs and fostering the growth of the industry.

Tata Play (formerly known as Tata Sky) collaborated with NSIL (NewSpace India Limited) and launched the GSAT-24 satellite in June 2022, aligned with the Government’s Make in India vision. Starting from August 7, 2023, Tata Play commenced the use of this satellite, now in its orbital position.

The increased bandwidth will enable Tata Play to provide its users with an even sharper picture and sound quality and the ability to carry 50% more channels while becoming the largest satellite bandwidth provider among all DTH platforms.

Speaking on the occasion, Nagpal said, “We got a satellite around 17 years ago which did not cover Andaman and Nicobar. There was another satellite we got which was weak in technology. Then seven to eight years ago, we were asked (by ISRO) about the requirement of our capacity. They proposed that they can make dedicated satellites for us and our orbit for the entire India. So, we bid for the satellite then.”

“The satellite was launched last year and it took us one year to test it and check it out. Yesterday (Sunday), the testing process was completed and today (Monday) is the official launch of the satellite which is made in India, for India and by India,” he added.

In response to a question by BestMediaInfo about the growing trend of new customers favouring DD Freedish, Nagpal said, “We have always welcomed DD Freedish. I have stated this many times before that I never see DD Freedish as a competitor to myself rather I see it as a complement."

"When a person spends a huge amount of money to buy a TV, you don't expect him to buy a TV and just start paying Rs 300 a month for pay TV. He should go to free to air then a portion of those graduate to pay TV while more are coming in. So, this is a natural sequence which shouldn't be disturbed," he added.

Apurva Chandra, Secretary Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, congratulated DoS (Department of Space) and Tata Play for successfully commissioning GSAT-24.  This event unlocks one more step towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat and self-reliance in the field of space and communication, he commented.

“This event unlocks one more step towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat and self-reliance in the field of space and communication,” he commented. 

“It is a very momentous day today. Tata Play has switched over and ISRO has taken a dedicated satellite for Tata Play. This has always been a dream that we should try and overcome challenges that come our way and go for such opportunities,” he added.

According to Chandra, the satellite will increase its channel carrying capacity, improve the picture quality of customers and the signal reception will also get better.

“Currently Tata Play has 600 channels. With the inclusion of ISRO satellite, it would be able to transmit 900 channels benefitting the general public. It is the culmination of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of privatisation and establishment of NSIL, which for the first time launched a demand based satellite in collaboration with Tata Play,” Chandra said.

“These channels would now be available all across the country, including the hilly North-East and Andaman and Nicobar islands,” he added. 

Radhakrishnan Durairaj, Chairman and Managing Director NSIL, said, "Earlier, satellites used to be built and launched and then the capacity increased. Earlier, it was more like a supply-driven mission but today it is a demand-driven mission. So, NSIL basically invests in bringing and hosting the satellite and finding an anchor customer capacity who is ready to take this capacity."

"Tata Play was one of the first customers for us who were ready to take the entire capacity of the satellite.  In fact, this is the first demand-driven conversation which our company has taken up and we have plans to take up many more demand conversations in the coming years. After GSAT-24 we are also looking at building GSAT-20, a communication satellite," he added.

Furthermore, he said that the capacity is secured by Tata Play for almost eight to ten years.

When questioned about the demand and potential for the newly launched satellite by Tata Play, especially amidst the rising trend of smartphone-based viewing, Nagpal responded, "In India, it's about 'and' rather than 'or'. There exists a customer base for every medium here. Hence, both TV and digital apps will find their respective customers and coexist harmoniously."


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