Al Jazeera targets Indian market with Dish TV tie-up

Al Jazeera targets Indian market with Dish TV tie-up

Al Jazeera, the news channel known as the voice of Middle East, has entered the Indian market through a tie-up with one of India’s biggest DTH platforms, Dish TV.

The company had earlier announced its intention to beam its English language feed to the Indian market and was also reported to be interested in starting a Hindi news service.

Al Jazeera, based out of the oil-rich kingdom of Qatar in West Asia, is known for projecting a more home-grown and authentic perspective of events in the Middle East compared with Western networks such as the CNN, the BBC etc..

The channel, owned by the Qatari state, is known for its often controversial reporting on events in the Middle East, home to some of the most restricted media markets in the World. It was recently in the news for its in-depth coverage of the ‘Arab Spring’ protests.

Dish TV, with nearly 1.2 crore connections, will give Al Jazeera instant access to a market of nearly 5 crore (50 million) people, the Indian company said in a statement.

It will be placed in Dish TV’s ‘family pack’ on Channel 618.

The entry also highlights the growing importance of DTH platforms in the country. Unlike earlier, when channel launches required channel companies to tie-up with hundreds of small cable operators to ensure visibility, a single deal with a DTH provider is now able to give a sizeable audience to new channels.

Al Jazeera has been available in Indian skies as an unencrypted and free service in the C-Band. However, most Indians rely on cable or DTH for satellite programming and rarely have C-Band dishes, often 8 feet or bigger, at their homes.