Sudeep Acharya : Managing Director, Dish Media Network
How has DISH Home been delivering its services in recent times?
Dish Home has surpassed a level. We have gone ahead with the government’s plan of digitization. With the thought “One cannot do anything limiting in a single place”, we are stepping ahead with other plans. Similarly, we are streaming services via satellite. We are also now serving through the OTT platform. Besides that, we are in the process of buying a SIM TV for cable. This is how we are moving forward.
What is the current status of accessing DishHome in Nepal?
Currently, the household in Nepal is around 60-65 lakhs. It is estimated that 80 percent of them have electricity in their houses. That is 48-50 lakhs households. In this case, we have distributed ‘Set top Box’ to over 18 lakh houses. The set top boxes distributed by other companies is estimated to be be around 12 lakhs. Based on this statistics, only 30-32 lakh houses are left now.
Still today, 30 lakh houses with electricity access and 20 lakh houses without electricity are out of television access. There are some problems on this. That is, an Indian ‘direct-to-home’ (DTH) appears to be widespread in the Terai region. We have to stop the same.
There is competition in the market right now. So this is an opportunity in a way. But the first challenge is the Indian DTH. One such challenge that will appear in the future is ‘clean feed’.
What is the reason for protesting the ‘clean feed’?
The government has already put forth the ‘Clean Feed’ Policy and passed it. In this case, we have not even protested it. But what we mean is, what happens if a client does not get fixed ‘content’ due to clean feed who is already habituated with such content? Indian DTH is now abundant in Terai. Implementing ‘clean feed’ leads us to a fear that it will only get worse. It is out of control today, how uncontrollable would it be in the coming days? Shops are openly selling it. Government has not even assured to remove it. Most of the channels we have brought in are from India. There is no ‘clean feed’ in such channels except for one or two.
Why would our customers subscribe to us if no channel is screened tomorrow due to ‘clean feed’? Therefore, it has created a doubt. Another is that the revenue the government is collecting will not be raised once the ‘clean feed’ is implemented as the foreign channels are considered unconstitutional.
Similarly, we are also offering two percent royalties to the government through the Ministry of Communications. If we shrink, it can dry. In the future, there may be situations where we cannot do business. If our business gets closed, Nepali channels will not be available on Indian DTH tomorrow. In such cases, it has created a doubt if the source of information will be disturbed. If that happens, state decisions can be oblivious to people. Therefore, in the present case, there is no meaning of foreign channels without advertising.
If the decision is to stop advertisements, there are media other than televisions as well. Is it appropriate for us to advertise in magazines coming from abroad in the future? Today, you are watching a foreign advertisement on Facebook. Why are restrictions in our business only? We need to see it from a business perspective other than copying what others have done.
Many entrepreneurs are saying that there is no investment-friendly environment in Nepal. What is your opinion on this?
The most frightening aspect is people doing business in Nepal are not perceived well. If a person buys goods for two rupees and sells for 2 rupees and 50 paisa, people say he conned 50 paisa.
In order to develop any country, business expansion is a must. I have seen many opportunities in Nepal for even small works. But implementation is lacking. Neither the government encourages, nor the society.
I have said it before as well that I will be called fraud if I do business. The state seems to be lagging behind to provide services for business expansion. There are many legal issues that must be overcome for any work. The process is even more complicated. Such things need improvement.
Let’s go back to Dish Home. What are the upcoming plans?
We have always been believing in innovation. We adopted satellite-based ‘DTH’ technology by studying the geographical situation of Nepal. Likewise, we have also been contributing to sectors of Nepali film and sports through television channels. We are offering services via ‘Ramailo TV’ and ‘Action Sports’ television channels. We could watch the World Cup 2018 through Action Sports with Nepali commentary, which had never happened before.
We have also brought the plan for the OTT platform. Similarly, we are also making some changes in the recharging system. All these are for customers’ convenience.
Next is our Internet project. We are working on providing internet in urban areas through wires and rural areas through satellites. We will be rolling out many plans in future. It will also be qualitative.
In the end, Success seems to have been achieved where Sudip Acharya lays his hand, What is the secret behind this?
It is said family background also works in business. However, what I realized is business is something that comes in your mind and heart since childhood. Let me give you an example. When I was studying in grade four at Budhanilkantha School, we used to play a lot of marbles during the winter. Marbles used to cost more inside the school. Since hostelers could go back to their homes once a month, I used my pocket money to buy marbles outside at a cheaper rate and sell it to my friends in school at an expensive rate. I am unaware how I could think of such an idea. However, it doesn’t mean ‘money’ or ‘profit’ only, it also inspires us to work.
The most important thing is what we want to do next. Such things also have a role in shaping what I am now. Regarding success, one can taste it if he/she is sincere and honest in his/ her work.