“Dialog TV planning to enter the OTT market in Sri Lanka”

During an exclusive interview at the NexTV Series conference held on the 18th April in Mumbai. Zihar Zuhair, Chief Manager -Content Acquisition and Channel Management at Dialog Axiata revealed that Dialog TV has currently around 850000 subscribers in Sri Lanka. He further added that Dialog TV is planning to enter the OTT market.

    • Q.  Can you briefly present Dialog TV activities in Sri Lanka?
    • A. Dialog TV is a direct broadcast satellite pay TV service provider based in Sri Lanka and is a fully owned subsidiary of Dialog Axiata PLC. Currently, Dialog TV currently has around 850000 subscribers and covers the entirety of Sri Lanka.

    • Q. Dialog TV partners with ESPN since a long time, what are the other partnerships in the pipeline?
    • A. ESPN came back to Sri Lanka and that is why we partnered with them. The country is full of sports fan and sports programs such as cricket, football, tennis and rugby are well consumed. So, if a sport channel decides to create an antenna in Sri Lanka we will probably team up with them to increase our sport content. On the other hand, we have secure all the broadcasting rights of all regional games.

    • Q.How is Dialog TV adapting and evolving with the ongoing digitalisation process?
    • A. The digitalisation process is a major benefit for the client and the industry in general. With the analogue, we have a lot of signal issues which will no longer exist with the digitalisation. We are working on modernising our system to improve for example the efficiency of the bandwidth in Sri Lanka.

    • Q.What are the major setbacks that Dialog TV is facing in regard to its competitors?
    • A. The major problem is to recruit customer for our pay TV operation as now, there are very good quality content from the public broadcaster with the 25 channels available for free. However, I must say that the government in overall and also its regulations are very supportive for the development of operators.

    • Q. What about the mobile market in Sri Lanka?
    • A. Dialog TV has already installed broadband and a mobile network in Sri Lanka. However, we are now looking for partnership with other OTT players such as Iflix and Vuclip to bring us this service that we lack as of now.

    • Q.Localized content is an important factor for the success of an operator, is Dialog TV planning to have its own content?
    • A. This is something that we are working on. However, we need to come to an agreement with the production side first before we get started. We are not going all gun blazing but rather taking it slow at the beginning.

    • Q. How do you see Dialog TV evolution in Sri Lanka in the next five years?
    • A. We’ll keep improving our services to be closer to what the customer base wants. We are going to switch a vast number of our channels from Standard Definition to High Definition and also to create a Hybrid box to improve our services. Finally we are going to penetrate in the OTT market as we have seen that it is now a very solid trend.