Sun TV Cable's (SCV) counter act on Arasu Cable TV 
The battle between the state-owned Arasu Cable TV Network Corporation (ACNC) and Maran's Sun Cable Vision (SCV) is expected to begin soon in Chennai with the former gearing up for an entry at the digital end and the latter announcing an array of discounts and packages to keep customers in its fold.

SCV has rolled out six special packages starting from 137.45 per month for subscription. The company is trying to retain its customers for a year by clinching annual deals. Among direct to home (DTH) service providers , Sun Direct's value pack (south) starts at 1,490 while TATA Sky has a range from 1,199 to 4,000.

However, ACNC is likely to enjoy the backing of many cable operators which would enable it to reach out to customers . Tamizhaga Cable TV Operators' Welfare Association President, P Sakilan told TOI his association controls more than 1,500 cable operators out of the total 2,000 in Chennai. "We will extend full support to Arasu Cable network as and when it enters the city." According to cable TV industry sources, there are about 14 lakh cable connections in Chennai.

Government sources told TOI that Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa had recently formed a committee comprising Arasu MD and the IT secretary as its members to prepare for Arasu's entry into Chennai. Digitisation of the network is one of the major tasks on hand for these officials.

"Works are going on in the right direction . We are discussing various issues including procuring set top boxes ," said an official. ACNC is planning to give a tough competition to all service providers including DTH operators . Providing free set-top-boxes - devices used to decode encrypted pay channels - is one of the options being considered.

Chennai's cable rates are considered the cheapest among all cities and the market is considered price-sensitive . A significant number of subscribers look for the right balance between number of channels offered and the pricing. "Currently , I am paying 485 per month for the cable service. I will certainly look at shifting if somebody is ready to provide the same service at a cheaper price," said K S Suresh, an MNC executive. S Kumaran , an IT professional in Adyar, said, "At present I am using DTH service. However, during monsoon clarity comes down. If Arasu provides good service I do not mind shifting to that."

Arasu Cable Operators ' Association president N Yuvaraj said DTH service providers will feel the heat when ACNC enters Chennai. "Currently, DTH services are used by the elite, who can afford to pay for the instrument and set top box. If Arasu is launched in Chennai, they may switch to the network," he noted.

Sources in Sun Direct and TATA Sky said they do not have immediate plans to counter Arasu. They said they would work out a counter strategy after Arasu announces plans to enter Chennai.

Courtesy - Times of India


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