DTH subscriber base expands by 2.8 lakh over March quarter

During January-June, TV viewership rose 9% on year

According to the Trai report, a total of 926 private satellite TV channels have been permitted by the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB)

India’s DTH (direct-to-home) subscriber base grew marginally by 2.8 lakh (280,000) over the January to March quarter of 2020, attaining a base of around 70.26 million from 69.98 million in December 2019. These are findings from the Indian Telecom Services Performance Indicator Report January-March 2020 published by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai).

The segment had reported a base of 69.30 million in September 2019.

Further, the DTH sector is dominated by Tata Sky (32.33%), followed by Dish TV (29.49%), Bharti Telemedia (23.65%) and Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd (14.53%).

“The Trai report shows that Tata Sky has been consistently gaining market share and subscribers at a pace that is faster than any other platform. We believe this can be attributed to our customer centric outlook. The overall increase in DTH subscribers is also a great sign for the M&E (media and entertainment) sector,” a Tata Sky spokesperson said in a statement.

Without doubt, the DTH sector has benefitted from people staying at home during the covid-19 pandemic and watching more television, even though original programming eluded them. DTH broadcasting, which accounts for 37% of total television subscribers in India, is set to notch up a revenue growth of 400-600 basis points (bps) to touch Rs. 22,000 crore this fiscal year, thanks to healthy subscriber additions, according to a report by global analytics company Crisil.

Last year, the DTH subscriber base increased as cable TV subscribers shifted after implementation of the Trai’s new tariff order, Crisil said. While cable TV operators were grappling with integration and roll-out challenges, DTH peers transitioned smoothly as they already had better systems. Besides, pricing parity required as per new regulations meant a 30-35% increase in cable TV tariffs, which eroded the price advantage cable TV enjoyed over DTH. The trend is expected to continue this fiscal, too, aided by the pandemic. During January-June, TV viewership rose 9% on year. Social distancing norms and work from home (WFH) are likely to keep people indoors for most of this year. Besides, gradual resumption of the airing of new TV serial episodes and major sporting events such as Indian Premier League being streamed during the festive season, should keep viewers hooked.

Further, according to the Trai report, a total of 926 private satellite TV channels have been permitted by the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB). This is an increase from the 918 figure reported in December 2019 and 910, as of September 2019.

There are 333 pay TV channels, as on 31st March 2020, which includes 235 SD (standard definition) pay TV channels and 98 HD (high definition) pay TV channels. Again, this is a marginal increase from the 332 channels reported as of December 2019 and 330 in September 2019.

The number of DTH operators remains four while the number of MSOs (multiple system operators) is 13. Livemint

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