Cable TV

Only 70 per cent of the Indian pay-TV market will be digitised by 2023: MPA report

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MUMBAI: The process of digitisation in India currently seems to be stuck in limbo. Even with several deadlines being set, the country doesn’t seem to have progressed much even in digital addressable systems (DAS) phase II, let alone phases III and IV. A new report from Media Partners Asia (MPA) has predicted key findings about the cable and DTH industry in India between 2013 and 2023.

It expects the next five years to be a period of robust growth of India’s pay-TV market. MPA projects that the pay TV industry in the country will grow from $7.4 billion in revenue in 2013 to $12.3 billion by 2018.

The growth in revenue will be equal to an average annual growth rate of 11 per cent between the years 2013 to 2018. By 2023, it expects the industry to generate revenues of approximately $ 16.4 billion. The findings by MPA were published in the report ‘India Pay-TV and Broadband-Future Trends’.

The study states that by the end of 2013, India had approximately 65 million paying digital subscribers. MPA projections indicate that only 70 per cent of the Indian pay-TV market will be digitised by 2023.

The total number of TV households in India is currently pegged at around 160 million with nearly 20 million on terrestrial only. This will be the growth opportunity for alternative platforms as cable and DTH will find it unviable to penetrate into the interiors of the country. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has given a deadline of 31 December 2014 for completion of digitisation. If one goes by the MPA report, India has a long way to go for 100 per cent digitisation.

From 2015 to 2017 will see an upward trend as DAS will take off in phase III and IV areas. After 2017, the time will be for consolidation and monetisation as subscriber growth will decelerate.

While the growth during 2009 to 2013 was driven by volume, the next five years will be led by average revenue per user (ARPU). At the end of the 2018, pay TV subscribers will hit 165 million and by 2023, it will be 180 million. This implies a long term penetration of 80 per cent.

The growth will also give wide space for alternative platforms such as Doordarshan-owned Free Dish, headend-in-the-sky (HITS) and over-the-top media (OTT) apart from cable and DTH, which will address the need gap between TV households and pay TV subscribers.

DTH industry revenues are expected to reach $4 billion by 2018 and $5.5 billion by 2023. This will be due to healthy subscriber additions from 2014 to 2016 and by improved churn and suspension management. The active DTH subscriber base is expected to grow from 37 million in 2013 to 60 million by 2018 and 70 million by 2023. Thus, DTH will have a 39 per cent share of the pay-TV market by 2023 and 56 per cent share of the digital market.

MPA predicts that the total digital cable subscribers will be 50 million by 2018 and 55 million by 2023. Digital cable conversion will shoot up from 29 per cent in 2013 to 48 per cent by 2018 and 50 per cent by 2023. This will enable growth in cable broadband. It expects share of cable in the fixed broadband market to grow from 6 per cent to nearly 15 per cent from 2013 to 2023.

The projected total pay-TV channel revenues for broadcasters, including advertising and subscription will grow from $3.3 billion in 2013 to $6 billion by 2018 and $8.3 billion by 2023.

Meanwhile the pay-TV ad market is expected to grow at 8.6 per cent CAGR over 2013 to 2023 while broadcaster subscription revenues are expected to grow at 11.3 per cent over the same period. This will be due to improved macro-economic conditions, sub-segmentation of existing genres and new advertiser categories.

“The Indian market is important because of its accessibility for global media distributors and investors and its high levels of pay-TV penetration. Ever changing regulations are destabilising but the government’s DAS mandate will be an important catalyst while improved supply side factors, including healthy financial markets and investments from international strategists are also critical,” says MPA India VP Mihir Shah.

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