DTH

Dish TV, Videocon d2h merger impacted global TV subscriber numbers

First quarter of 2018 witnessed a loss of five million subs

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MUMBAI: The merger of India’s two direct-to-home (DTH) players, Dish TV and Videocon d2h partly played a role in the loss of over five million subscribers or 1.14 per cent in the first quarter of 2018, as per the global report of TV subscribers released by Multiscreen Index.

Excluding Dish TV and Videocon d2h, the index rose by just 1.49 million subscribers, or 0.36 per cent, which is the lowest quarterly increase Informitv has seen. The average quarterly gain over the previous three years has been around 4.5 million, or 1.15 per cent.

Before the merger, it was reported that Dish TV and Videocon d2h will have a total 29.51 million subscribers. After merging in March, the enlarged Dish TV had 6.90 million more subscribers than it had the previous quarter, although overall there appeared to be an apparent loss of 6.51 million from the previous combined total.

Informitv Multiscreen Index editor William Cooper said, “Traditional television subscriber numbers are flat or falling for some services and tracking them through mergers and acquisitions, together with changes in reporting methodologies is increasingly complex. Only 48 of the 100 services in the index reported subscriber gains in the first quarter. That does not include some services that only report figures once or twice a year.”

Dish TV in India emerged with 23 million subscribers, sending it straight to the top of the Multiscreen Index, ahead of American operators Comcast with 21.21 million and DirecTV with 20.27 million.

AT&T still has more subscribers overall in the US, with a total of 25.32 million including U-verse and DirecTV NOW. AT&T has the largest number of subscribers as a group, with 38.89 million across the Americas, up by 93,000.

Satellite services in the US continue to see subscriber losses, with DirecTV losing 188,000, and Dish Network losing 185,000 subscribers. The top 10 services in the US lost 212,000 subscribers in the quarter, with only three of them reporting gains. The largest of these was from the online service DirecTV Now, which added 336,000 subscribers, taking its total to 1.42 million. Sling TV from Dish Network added 91,000, for a total of 2.30 million.

With Sling TV and DirecTV Now regularly reporting subscriber numbers, the report now accounts for online distribution as a separate category, in addition to cable, satellite and telco networks. With a total of 3.71 million online subscribers in the index, it is far smaller than satellite, which still leads with 182.12 million subscribers.

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