Interactive television spreads in India

28 January 2014

MUMBAI: The penetration level of television in India means that interactive services are more likely to spread there than on mobile, a leading industry figure has argued.

Vikram Mehra, chief commercial officer at Tata Sky, said that the broadcaster's Active Services platform offered focused, subscription-based interactive video content which kept users engaged.

Speaking to Pitch, he cited the example of Active Cooking: "As a brand, you are aware of the fact that cookery shows will only be subscribed to by housewives or those passionate about cooking." Leading brands including McCain Foods, Yakult and Maggi are already running infomercials on Active Cooking.

"In regular television shows, the message is being thrown at a much larger but not so relevant audience," he said, adding that some 3m Interactive Services subscriptions had already been sold.


"We open the platform for advertisements only when we have a minimum mass reach for any of the content," he continued."Television has a much deeper penetration level in India, and interactivity on television is more likely to spread compared to mobiles. This is how Active services are different from mobile based interactions."

Tata Sky currently offers a total of 12 Active Services, and this "avenue of selective communication can now be scaled to children, men, women, housewives and senior citizens", claimed Mehra.

The burgeoning number of channels might also lead broadcasters - which know how many connections there are - to charge for content, and so lessen their dependency on advertising.

"The revenue system is going to change in the years to come," RS Suriyanarayanan, associate vice-president at media buying agency Initiative, told the Business Standard.

As such, the future could be a channel-driven market with content publishers calling the shots, and a plethora of choices for media managers who would be forced to choose the best one at the right time.

Data sourced from Pitch, Afaqs!; additional content by Warc staff