HD, premium channels, VAS help increase ARPUs for DTH: FICCI-KPMG


The growth of average revenue per user (ARPU) in the Direct To Home (DTH) sector continues, even as digital cable is still struggling to roll out channel packages. As per the FICCI- KPMG 2015 report, due to sustained increase in ARPU, the sector had a healthy revenue growth despite a muted subscriber addition in 2014.

In 2014, DTH operators saw an increase of around 12 to 15 per cent in ARPUs. While some of the ARPU increase was driven by DTH operators’ ability to continue to push price hikes (there was a price increase in April 2014 of an approximate eight to nine per cent), the more promising trend is that DTH operators were able to increase collections from customers by providing additional services such as High Definition (HD) channels, premium channels and other value added services (VAS).

As phase III and IV of digitisation draws near, the battle will be closely contested by MSOs and DTH operators. In phase I and II, DTH operators managed to gain 20 to 30 per cent of the subscriber base converting to digital. Two factors, namely an inherent technology advantage and stronger balance sheets, will give DTH players the bonus advantage to take on MSOs, especially the smaller players, in the year ahead. However, in order to gain a bigger piece of the pie, they will have to re-jig their channel packages, in sparsely populated areas so that it becomes affordable for subscribers in Phase III and IV.

Dish TV’s sub-brand Zing is all set to tackle digital cable players at the regional level. The brand addresses various linguistic needs of subscribers and offers regional specific channels as part of all available packs, while the other channels can be added based on the customer’s choice. It has been launched West Bengal, Tripura, Odisha, Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

When one compares Zing’s package prices, they are cheaper than those of digital cable. For example, the base package of Zing costs Rs 99 per month versus Rs 220 per month for digital cable. Its mid level package carries a price tag of Rs 249 versus Rs 270 per month for digital cable. Besides the content, even the advertising and other marketing activities are done in the regional languages, while customer support services will be at the local level through trade partners, similar to the cable TV model.

While digital cable operators are still grappling with securing their business model right, DTH operators have focused on increasing monetisation by providing additional value to their subscribers either through innovative services or STBs, such as those with unlimited recording and technology revolution like 4K.

According to the report, there are four million HD subscribers, accounting for 10 per cent of all DTH subscribers, while 15 to 20 per cent of incremental subscribers in 2014 were HD subscribers. HD adoption continues to drive ARPU growth for DTH players with the average ARPU of a HD subscriber at an approximate 1.5 to 2x the ARPU of a non-HD subscriber.

Compared to 6.5 million units of panel television sets (LCD, LED and plasma TVs) sold in 2013 in India, eight million units were expected to be sold in 2014, of which 55 per cent was expected to have been HD panel TV sales. The share of HD and 4K TV sales is expected to further increase over the next five years, reaching 80 per cent by 2019. While HD adoption will continue to be a key growth driver for DTH ARPUs over the next few years, adoption of 4K STBs is expected to pick up in India, though lack of 4K content can be a major problem.

Currently only Videocon d2h and Tata Sky offer 4K services. Live sports action is expected to be one of the enablers of HD adoption, with the recently concluded ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, likely to be a key trigger in 2015.

All major DTH operators namely Tata Sky, Dish TV, Videocon D2H and Airtel Digital have launched ‘TV Everywhere’ apps on mobiles and tablets through, which subscribers can watch live TV, catch up TV and video on demand (VoD) for an additional monthly fee. While there are several players along the media value chain who have launched online platforms for on-demand content to capture the surging viewer base, DTH operators have a key advantage in monetising these viewers through their ‘TV Everywhere’ apps, given their already existing payment relationships with subscribers.

Latest Reads

FICCI - Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas releases FICCI Frames ‘Entertainment Law Book 2020’ Report

Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, today released ‘Entertainment Law Book 2020’ report. The report highlights regulatory developments in the field of TV broadcasting and distribution, music, radio, filmed entertainment, and other segments...

Specials Event Coverage Ficci Frames
Research is important while creating content: Nepa India

MUMBAI: Research is a key ingredient before the launch of any product or brand. And creating content is nothing without appropriate research about the audience and their choices, explains Nepa India managing director Esha Nagar while giving a presentation at the fourth edition of The Content Hub...

Specials Event Coverage Content Hub
Spontaneity, gut feeling are fundamentals of my direction: Badhaai Ho director Amit Sharma

MUMBAI: The director is like the manager of a film who brings talent under one roof and extracts it to create good content, said film director and producer Amit Sharma while addressing fellow and budding content creators at the fourth edition of The Content Hub 2020 organised by indiantelevision....

Specials Event Coverage Content Hub
Supernatural genre gives writers most creative liberty

Writers of the popular TV show Naagin, Mukta Dhond and  Mrinal Jha, explored the scope of the supernatural genre at The Content Hub 2020 organised by indiantelevision.com. Dhond said that the most exciting thing about fantasy is that it gives creative liberty to writers. As they say, anything is...

Specials Event Coverage Content Hub
Applause Entertainment’s Sameer Nair on digital content creation, self-regulation and creative freedom

Creativity, freedom of expression, self-regulation and content quality are some of the factors that come into play for digital platforms. These topics were addressed in a fireside chat between House of Cheer founder and CEO Raj Nayak and Applause Entertainment CEO Sameer Nair, at Indiantelevision....

Specials Event Coverage Content Hub
It's the golden age of content: Sooni Taraporevala

MUMBAI: Sooni Taraporevala, an Indian screenwriter, photographer and filmmaker best known for her work in Mississippi Masala, spoke on ‘The Golden Age of Content’ at The Content Hub 2020 organised by indiantelevision.com.

Specials Event Coverage Content Hub
Writers are the key to great content

At The Content Hub 2020 organised by indiantelevision.com, Tulsea talent manager Radhika Gopal and Matter Advisors founder and managing partner Caleb Franklin discussed the importance of creating an ecosystem and a platform for writers.

Specials Event Coverage Content Hub
Visuals go hand-in-hand with storytelling for compelling content

It takes massive effort, time and investment but delivers great result for producing high-quality content in terms of visuals, said Travelxp’s creative director Kamakhya Narayana Singh while sharing the advantages of 4K and 8K format during the fourth edition of The Content Hub 2020 hosted by...

Specials Event Coverage Content Hub
More localised stories is the way forward to connect with larger regional audiences

Regional GEC is the new focus area after Hindi GEC for broadcasters, OTT platforms and production houses as well. South market is the biggest market in the regional space; it has grown by 45 per cent with OTT platforms investing in regional content.

Specials Event Coverage Content Hub

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories

* indicates required