DTH aims peak subscriber growth in FY'11 on back of sports

MUMBAI: Direct-to-home (DTH) operators expect to add 11 million subscribers in the next fiscal due to a spate of sporting events, the peak for any year.

An almost 30 per cent increase over the earlier fiscal will take the total DTH universe to around 31 million.

For the current fiscal, DTH companies are expected to mop up 8.5 million amid lower ARPUs (average revenue per user), fiercer competition and higher subsidies. In FY‘09, the industry added seven million subscribers. 
The high-profile list of sporting events due next fiscal include the soccer World Cup, the Commonwealth Games, the T20 World Cup and the ODI World Cup.

Market leader Dish TV hopes to add over 2.5 million next fiscal, up from 1.85 million in FY‘10. "We will be ending FY‘10 with a subscriber base of close to 6.9 million. With a rich line up of sporting events in the next fiscal, we hope to add over 2.5 million subscribers," a source in the company says. 
Dish TV is sitting on a cash pile of Rs 9 billion, following the completion of a rights issue and an investment from Apollo Management. The company, which is netting 22 per cent of fresh subscriber growth, will use the funds to aggressively ramp up its subscriber base.

Airtel Digital TV, a late entrant, is the fastest-growing DTH operator, holding on to 25 per cent of the incremental growth in subscribers. It has close to 2.1 million subscribers, industry sources say.

Tata Sky has 16 per cent of the incremental subscriber growth while Sun Direct has 21 per cent and Big TV 12 per cent, the sources add.

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