DTH

DTH subscriber addition disappointing in calendar 2016

BENGALURU: The carriage industry -- more specifically the direct-to-home or DTH industry -- has had a disappointing calendar year 2016 (CY-16) going by data provided by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in the first edition of its Yearly Performance Indicator Report of the Indian Telecom Sector for  2016 (IR-2016). This was mentioned by indiantelevision.com earlier after some players declared their results for fiscal and fourth quarter ended 31 March 2017. (FY-17 and Q4-17).

Substantiating our findings, the TRAI report says that in CY-16 the registered DTH subscriber base grew only 14.45 percent from 84.8 million in CY-15 to 97.05 million in CY-16. A further downside was that the active subscriber base grew just 11.91 percent to 62.65 million in CY-16 from 55.98 million in CY-15. In absolute numbers this means that a little more than half (54.45 percent) of the registered suppliers (12.25million) added were active suppliers (6.67 million).

The DTH industry had expected to grab a substantial percentage of the analogue cable subscribers from DAS Phase IV, – the sunset date for which had been extended by the government to 31 March 2017 from the earlier date of 31 December 2017.

Please refer to the figure below for the market share of the six private pay DTH players in India. According to TRAI data, these three players had a 68 percent share of the private DTH market. Besides the six private pay DTH players, Doordarshan’s (DD) FreeDish DTH service  is a major player and is the largest DTH player by far in terms of subscribers with an estimated 15 million or 1.5 crore subscribers in 2015 as per the KPMG-FICCI Indian Media and Entertainment Industry Report 2016 (KPMG-FICCI M&E Report 2016) titled The Future: Now streaming. It must however be noted that an exact number for registered or active subscribers is not available even with DD, since this is a free DTH service.

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Of the 6.67 million active DTH subscribers added by the industry, 4.65 million (69.72 percent) were added by three major DTH players whose information is available in the public domain. They are Bharti Airtel’s digital TV services or Airtel DTH, Dish TV and Videocon DTH.

DAS was a huge opportunity for all the players in the television carriage ecosystem – in phase IV alone, this meant about 42 million analogue cable television homes. It is quite obvious from TRAI data that the industry has failed to do so. The DTH players could capitalize on just about 16 percent of this opportunity. And despite the extension of the sunset date to 31 March, 2017, DTH subscriber growth has slowed down even further, if one were to go by the subscribers added by the three big players mentioned above in the fourth financial quarter (1 January 2017 to 31 March 2017) – the three added a shade above half a million subscribers combined in Q4-17. Please refer to the figure below for the subscriber addition data by the three major players.

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In FY-16 (year ended 31 March 2016) , the three players had added about 65 percent more subscribers in absolute numbers at 4.93 million as compared to the 3.81 million added in FY-17 (year ended 31 March 2017).The DTH industry witnessed a slowdown in subscriber growth even in the previous financial year. Combined subscriber additions for the annual period ended 31 March 2016 (FY-16) vis-à-vis the previous year (FY-15) grew by 14.8 percent of the three pay-direct to home operators in India.  This subscriber growth rate was however a little less than half that these entities had in FY-15 at 24.7 percent as compared to FY-14.

Also Read :

DTH subscriber growth slows down even further

Active DTH subscriber growth subdued in Oct-Dec'16 quarter

The growth of DTH in India

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