Indian direct-to-home (DTH) satellite TV operator Dish TV has launched a local service in Sri Lanka, with lower subscription fees than the country's current pay-TV services Dialog TV and Peo TV.
Initially Dish will provide a selection of Indian and local free-to-air digital channels for LKR 317 (US$2.4). The operator is expected to ramp up its channel offering in coming months to tap into the local appetite for Hindi films and Tamil content.
In February 2014, the Essel Group-owned Indian DTH giant announced it would invest INR1 billion in its Sri Lankan joint venture, Dish TV Lanka. Dish TV owns 70% of the company, with local company Satnet holding the remainder of the shares.
Operating from SES 8, the new satellite TV service will compete with Sri Lanka's leading DTH platform Dialog TV, which had 452,000 subscriptions at the end of 2014. The second largest player, Peo TV had 124,000 subscribers in the same period. Signal piracy is, however, rife in Sri Lanka, with up to 1 million people thought to access pay-TV illegally across the island nation.
Pay-TV penetration in Sri Lanka is expected to rise from about 15% of TV households at the end of 2014 to over 28% by 2019, with subscriber growth rising after 2016, according to market researchers at Media Partners Asia.