DTH posts great numbers in India, to surge further ahead with the government aggressively digitising the country’s televisions.
Touted to be the next best thing in television broadcasting a few years back, DTH in India has lived up to its promise of big numbers. A recent report released by Singapore-based consultants Media Partners Asia (MPA), the total DTH subscriber base has touched 44.4 million in the country in November, 2011. In 2010, it was 25 million. DTH has thus grown 77% in a year.
This year too, the leader is none other than Subhash Chandra’s Dish TV with a 28.2 percent market share while Tata Sky falls a distant second with 18 per cent market share. Airtel Digital TV and Sun Direct both come next with 16 percent share. Yet, the biggest surprise in the report seems to be Videocon. Despite being the weakest player in the DTH market a year back, it showed strong growth and has overtaken Reliance’s Big TV with over 11.4 per cent share or 5.1 million subscribers.
Of the Rs. 32,000 crore Indian TV market, a bulk of the money, close to 60%, comes from the money that subscribers pay for DTH or cable services. Thus with these new figures, the number game in Indian television changes drastically. DTH is the platform for watching TV in nearly one third of the 148 million TV households in India. According to this report in Business Standard, this growth in DTH speaks of a good time for investors who are supposed to have invested an estimated $3 billion into the market so far. This will go a long way in helping these investors, break even and recover their investments.
It however remains to be seen how the industry fares this year. Major DTH players had increased prices in Nov. 2011 while at the same time lowering trade margins per new subscriber. This move is expected to boost average revenue per user and help offset the rising subscriber acquisition costs.
With the government aggressively pushing in for digitisation of TV, Multi System Cable Operators (MSOs) are expected to lose 15-20 per cent of their subscribers to DTH during the phase one that requires the digitisation of Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata by June.
Seems like the good times have just rolled in for DTH in India.
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