Mumbai: The Direct-to-Home (DTH) television industry has long been a cornerstone of the entertainment landscape, offering viewers access to a wide array of channels and programming from the comfort of their homes. However, recent data released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) reveals a significant decline in DTH subscribers during the period of July to September 2023. According to the report, DTH services lost approximately 1.32 million pay subscribers during this timeframe, raising questions about the evolving dynamics of the pay-TV market.
The decline in DTH subscribers is a reflection of several factors reshaping the television industry. One of the primary drivers behind this trend is the increasing popularity of alternative viewing platforms, such as Over-the-Top (OTT) streaming services and video-on-demand (VOD) platforms. With the proliferation of high-speed internet connectivity and the availability of affordable smartphones and smart TVs, consumers now have more choices than ever before when it comes to accessing content.
The pay DTH subscriber base decreased by 2.02 per cent from 65.50 million in the quarter ended June 2023 to 64.18 million in QE September 2023. According to TRAI’s Indian Telecom Services Performance Indicator Report, pay DTH attained a total active subscriber base of around 64.18 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2023. This is in addition to the subscribers of the DD Free Dish (free DTH services of Doordarshan).
Since the introduction of the DTH Sector in the year 2003, Indian DTH (direct-to-home) services have displayed phenomenal growth, according to TRAI. During the QE 30th September 2023, there were four pay DTH service providers in the country including Tata Play with 32.43 per cent share followed by Bharti Telemedia with 27.01 per cent and Dish TV India with 21.54 per cent share. Sun Direct TV had a 19.02 per cent share in QE in September 2023.
As per TRAI report and as of September 30 2023, there are 995 MSOs registered with MIB. As per the data reported by MSOs and HITS operators, as of September 2023, there are 11 MSOs & 1 HITS operator who have a subscriber base greater than one million. With GTPL Hathway leading the charts with over nine million subscribers.
As per broadcasters' reporting in pursuance of the Tariff Order dated 3rd March 2017 as amended, out of 904 permitted satellite TV channels which are available for downlinking in India, there are 361 satellite pay TV channels as of 30th September 2023.
TRAI said, out of 361 pay channels, 257 are SD satellite pay TV channels and 104 are HD satellite pay TV channels.