Dish TV expects significant growth from DAS P III & IV markets


MUMBAI: Even as India's consolidating MSOs race ahead to digitise India's cable TV infrastructure -- albeit in fits and starts -- in smaller towns and villages, direct to home platform (DTH) owners expect to capture a slice of the action there. Amongst those who have been pushing in the heartlands include state-owned pubcaster's DD FreeDish. And, it has registered some gains there. Dish TV -- which is slated to complete its merger with Videocon d2h later this year -- is also hoping to partake the TV subscriber harvest in heartland India.

"We are anticipating that 70 per cent of the new connections over the next two years would come from those living in small towns and rural markets,” Dish TV CEO Arun Kapoor told PTI, adding that, “it would be primarily because of implementation of Digital Addressable System (DAS) in Phase III and IV." Of Dish TV’s 15.5 million subscriber base at present, around 35 per cent are from top 100 cities, and the remainder from small towns and rural markets.

Dish TV is expecting the Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) of the DTH industry to grow over two-fold in the next five years to Rs. 450-500. ARPU would increase from the current industry average of Rs. 150-160. This would be primarily driven by growth in number of HD channels, Value Added Services on DTH platform and implementation of DAS,” Kapoor added.

Dish TV, the Zee group DTH service arm, is hoping to formally complete the merger with Videocon Group’s DTH arm Videocon d2h by October 2017 after receiving the required regulatory approvals. The merged company would have a subscriber base of 27.2 million, making it the largest DTH service provider in the industry. The merged entity will be renamed as Dish TV Videocon Ltd., the total revenue of Dish TV and Videocon d2h together was Rs. 5,915.8 crore on a pro-forma basis for the fiscal ended 31 March, 2016.

Dish TV has an active subscriber base of 15.5 million, while that of Videocon d2h stands at around 12.2 million. The DTH industry has around 62 million active subscribers.

Kapoor said it was soon expecting approvals from regulatory bodies such as National Company Law Tribunal, the Competition Commission of India, and stock exchanges.

According to Kapoor, the DTH industry, which has players such as Sun Direct, TataSky, Airtel digital TV, Reliance Digital, has a current growth rate of 10 to 12 per cent.

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