With approvals proceeding apace and no hitches foreseen in the coming months, the roll-out of India’s new direct-to-home (DTH) behemoth is slated for no later than September. Dish TV Videocon Ltd., the result of a merger between two of the largest DTH players in the Indian market, will create the single largest DTH company in the country.

The company, however, has already announced that it will keep the Videocon d2h and Dish TV brands separate.

Confirming that the new company is expecting to begin operations by September, Dish TV chairman and managing director Jawahar Goel told Express that September was the outside margin for beginning combined operations. “We feel July or August is definitely doable. But we will begin operations by September,” he said. Sources in Videocon d2h also confirmed the expected timeline for launch.

The combined entity will, in one shot, become the largest DTH and media company in the country, boasting a subscriber base of more than 27.62 million (as on September 2016, Dish TV and Videocon d2h had a subscriber base of 15.1 million and 12.52 million respectively). Combined sales in financial year 2015-16 stood at Rs 5,920 crore.

While the merged company will be the largest media company in India, surpassing Zee Entertainment (Rs 5,850 crore) in sales, it will boast an even more impressive market share in the DTH market at 45 per cent, almost double that of its nearest competitor -- Tata Sky (24.2 percent). It will also have more than a 15 per cent share in the 145-million Pay TV market.

The merged entity has set its eyes on the fast growing local and hyperlocal market, according to Videocon sources. Videocon d2h alone added a bouquet of 42 regional Tamil and Telugu channels in the last one week. “There is immense potential here,” pointed out one official.

According to Goel, who is slated to be the head of the combined venture, both brands will continue as they are, with neither narrowing focus to specific markets (urban or rural) once the new company takes over. “There is no such demarcation in the Indian market. What this will do effectively, is give us twice the reach in distribution and marketing strengths,” he said.

Earlier, during the announcement of the deal, Saurabh Dhoot, executive chairman of Vd2h, had expressed similar sentiments. “We are excited at how in the long term, the combination can unlock significant value for shareholders, and the synergies.” Dish TV promoter Essel Group, which also owns Zee Entertainment, will pick up an extra 5 per cent stake in the new firm. – The Indian Express