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Sun TV Expects OTT 20 Million Subscribers By Year End As Ad Revenue Dips

Sun TV Network is expecting the subscription to its over-the-top (OTT, delivery of content directly over the internet) platform, Sun NXT, to reach 20 million in the next couple of months.

It has already seen three-fold growth in a month, having also signed telecom operator Reliance Jio to include the Sun NXT offerings within its streaming app, Jio Cinema. However, the company expects advertisement revenue growth to be slow this financial year, owing to the low market sentiments even after the festival season.

In a recent conference call with analysts, the management said subscription had trebled to 11 million in a month. “We think this will go to at least 20 million by the end of the calendar year. People will start sampling our product and because the telecom operator is also interested in driving up its data consumption, they are going to promote this in a big way. Once I’m fairly well entrenched into the smartphone universe, we can certainly look at increasing the ARPUs (average revenue per user) as we go forward,” said S L Narayanan, group chief financial officer.

According to reports, Sun NXT has three subscription models —a monthly one for Rs 50, quarterly subscription of Rs 130 and annual subscription for Rs 485. Narayanan said companies are looking at sourcing of content and a large OTT player had approached them in this regard. Sun is considering if it makes sense to give its content to another player or whether it should build its own, with proprietary rights. “Whether we would be riding on the back of large international OTT platforms or whether we build our own OTT, I think subscription revenues will be a very, very, robust number in the coming quarters,” he said.

While there was some uptick in demand during the Diwali season, it had since become lukewarm, with less spending in various sectors, says the company. This is expected to continue till at least March. However, the firm is optimistic and says it will continue with investment on creating high quality content, with an eye on higher ratings. Which will help it to gain momentum once the market picks up.―Business Standard

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