DTH

DTH subscriber growth slows down even further

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BENGALURU: Despite the information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry extending the deadline for phase IV of cable television digitisation by three months to 31 March 2017, owing to the “unsatisfactory progress of installation of set top boxes (STBs) in phase IV areas”, reports submitted by the carriage industry indicate that subscriber additions in the extended period have been low.

Financial results of companies or entities from the carriage industry whose financial and limited operational data is available in the public domain - Airtel Digital TV (Airtel DTH), Dish TV, and Videocon DTH show poor subscriber adds in the quarter ended 31 March 2017 (fourth quarter, Q4-17). As a matter of fact, subscriber adds in Q4-17 was the lowest that the three Indian major operators reported in a quarter for the financial year ended 31 March 2017 (FY-17). The combined subscribers for all the three players grew 8.33 percent to 41.23 million in FY-17 from 38.06 million in FY-16. It maybe noted that subscriber numbers are generally rounded off by the players in their reports, in some case to an extent of 10,000. In FY-16, 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.

Please refer to the figure below:

public://dth-1.jpg

The DTH industry witnessed a slowdown in subscriber growth even in the previous year.Combined subscriber additions for the annual period ended 31 March 2016 (FY-16) vis-à-vis the previous year (FY-15) grew by 14.8percent 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.

Let us see where the three pay DTH players considered in this paper stand in the Indian DTH eco-system

Airtel DTH, Dish TV and Videocon d2h have about two thirds (65 percent) of market share of the DTH universe by private players in India. Of the other three players, according to a TRAI report Tata Sky has a market share of 23 percent, while Sun Direct and Reliance have a market share or 10 percent and 2 percent respectively. It may be noted that at present probably the largest DTH player in India could be the government’s FreeDish, but since it is a free service, no subscriber data is available even with Prasar Bharati. Please refer to the chart below:

public://dth2_0.jpg

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