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Indian pay-TV expanding by 10.6 pc, 77 pc to be digitised, ARPUs to rise by '22: MPA

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MUMBAI: Pay-TV players in Asia-Pacific region are girding up their loins to integrate online video into their service bouquets and recalibrate owing to broadband growth while concentrating and scaling up their investment on premium content as they stare at competition

Indian pay-TV revenue, according to the new Media Partners Asia (MPA) report, is set to expand by 10.6 per cent this year. The annual 'Asia Pacific Pay-TV Distribution 2017' report covering 17 markets includes analysis of 80 pay-TV and broadband operators with KPIs and P&L.

Pay-TV industry revenues in India are on track to pass the US$-10 billion mark this year, MPA states. Industry revenues are set to expand by 10.6 per cent this year, picking up the pace again after a 6.3 per cent growth rate in 2016.

Cable, the dominant platform in Indian pay-TV with 59 per cent of subscription revenue and 67 per cent of subscribers, will expand by 7.0 per cent this year to exceed US$ 3.6 billion, according to MPA forecasts. Revenues for DTH satellite meanwhile will grow by 13.6 per cent to reach approximately US$ 2.6 billion. Pay-TV advertising, meanwhile, is set to contribute just over US $3.8 billion.

Media Partners Asia president - India Mihir Shah said: “India’s pay-TV market has been shaken and stirred by macro-economic developments, from demonetisation to tax reform, as well as structural shifts in the marketplace, notably TV ratings for rural areas as well as proposals for a new tariff regime from the regulator. That said, the market continues to offer scale and opportunities for monetisation. India’s pay-TV industry will add five million net new customers this year, lifting the base to 155 million homes. By 2022, this base will have grown to 173 million homes."

“Although average revenue per user or ARPU is relatively low at US$ 3.4, this will rise to US$ 3.8 by 2022,” Shah added.

“Digitalisation offers a major opportunity, not only to incumbent cable and DTH operators, but also to new platforms such as DD FreeDish. By the end of this year, there will still be 44 million analogue cable homes in India that need to be upgraded to digital networks. We expect 77 per cent of India’s pay-TV base to be digitalised by 2022. On-ground enforcement of the government’s cable digitalisation programme, together with more foreign direct investment as well as healthy primary and secondary capital markets, will also help drive digital subscriber growth.”

India’s pay-TV market is poised to be the fastest growing in Asia Pacific over the next five years, as revenues increase by a 7.1 per cent annual growth rate between 2017 and 2022, according to MPA forecasts. Analysts projected pay-TV industry revenues in India to pass the US$ 14-billion mark in 2022.

Revenue from pay-TV advertising will grow by a 10.5 per cent annual growth rate over this time-frame, increasing its share of the pay-TV pie from 38 per cent in 2017 to 45 per cent in 2022. Pay-TV subscription revenue will grow by a 4.8 per cent annual growth rate, with its share of the pie set to fall from 62 per cent in 2017 to 55 per cent in 2022.

India is the second largest pay-TV market in Asia-Pacific, after China, which is expected to generate US$ 21.0 billion in revenue this year, according to MPA. Japan, a US$ 6.5 billion pay-TV market, is third. Korea sits in the fourth place, at US$ 5.5 billion, while Australia lies fifth at US$ 2.8 billion.

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