Cable TV

DTH to benefit, Reliance Jio to intensify competition in DAS Phase III: Edelweiss

NEW DELHI: Broadcasters are obviously clear winners, but the direct to home (DTH) platforms may ultimately become the greatest beneficiaries of Phase III of digital addressable system (DAS) by garnering incremental market share of more than 50 per cent.


According to Edelweiss Securities Ltd, broadcasters will be one of the safest and most attractive plays on the digitisation theme, irrespective of higher subscriber additions by DTH or MSOs. “We expect a one-year lag for subscription revenue to flow (starting FY18) from the newly digitised subscribers,” Edelweiss said in its analysis of DAS Phase III.   


“In our view, analogue signals will gradually switch off and substantial roll out of Phase III digitisation will take at least three to four quarters driven by mass media ads and proactive steps by DTH players, national MSOs & the regulator,” the firm said.


However, this view is contrary to the Chrome Data Analytics’ claim of 70 per cent digitisation in Phase III. 


With six states (Assam, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha and Tamil Nadu) stalling Phase III digitisation by eight weeks or more with High Court orders, Edelweiss says, “Uncertainty persists; we expect many more states to follow suit.” In Tamil Nadu, the stand-off between Arasu and the Information & Broadcasting Ministry will delay digitisation, as was the case with Chennai earlier. 


Moreover, Edelweiss believes Reliance Jio’s entry in cable TV will intensify competition in the space. “Overall, we expect Zee, Sun TV, TV18 and Dish TV to be bigger beneficiaries of Phase III digitisation over the long term.”   


In Phase I and II cities, MSOs were able to retain around 75 per cent of incremental market share, while DTH players managed to garner only 25 per cent.


However in Phase III markets, Edelweiss says regional MSOs will have to incur substantial capex to make the cable infrastructure digital ready. “We believe DTH players will enjoy natural advantage over regional MSOs in Phase III markets.”

Further, voluntary digitisation by national MSOs in Phase III markets, learnings from Phase I & II digitisation and parts of Phase III areas being contiguous with Phase I & II markets put national MSOs in better position than regional MSOs. 


With the rollout of Reliance Jio, Edelweiss expects “competition to intensify in cable TV business. Cashing in on its strong balance sheet, RJio will fuel further competition in cable TV (free STBs, bundled services) in Phase I and II markets. We expect RJio’s entry to change the industry dynamics led by introduction of packaging and prepaid billing.”

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