The television population of India is approx.135 million and 80% of this population have access to cable and satellite. As per the statistics, DTH has a 20% market share with more than 22 millionDTH subscribers. The subscriber base for DTH has grown very rapidly in past 5 years. It can be evident from the fact that Dish TV was the only player in 2005 and now there are over 10 DTH service providers that have commenced their operations in DTH industry.
The earlier days of the Television viewership era in India was marked by the services of only one TV channel “Doordarshan” that was owned and managed by the Indian government. Only 20 per cent of the total homes were able to receive Doordarshan services by using antenna on their roof tops for capturing the signals. Doordarshan had expanded its services to 50 private satellite channels and 19 different services by year 1997.
In 1995, the Cable Television Ordinance Law was passed that proved to be remarkable event in the cable sector as it enables the cable operators to feed channels and allowed private channels to air their own channels. It was followed by rapid growth in number of TV channels and cable TV operators across the country. It led to the creation of many market opportunities in the industry.
Few years back, there were approx 100,000 cable operators in India;however that number got reduced to 60,000. There were many operators that tried to avoid the compulsion of paying steep entertainment taxesor the cost of upgrading their systems. Many such cable operators have sold their systems to emerging MSOs like Siti Cable and In Cablenet while others have formed alliances to compete with bigger MSOs.
The services offered by cable operators were not satisfactory and major reasons involved were selective broadcast, costly installation and activation services and poor signals strength. It was specifically more challenging for cable operators in rural sector that covers up three quarters of India.
The shortcomings of cable operators had led to the creation of immense opportunities for DTH that served as abetter alternative to high-end cable networks. Some of the major players that have identified the market potential and started their DTH services include Tata Sky (joint venture of Tata & Star TV), Digital TV (Bharati Telemedia), DishTV (Zee group), Big TV (Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group) and SUN Direct (Sun TV).
Although DTH comes with many advantages like better picture, sound quality, value added features, it has cost disadvantage. As per the data, the growth of the DTH industry is taking place primarily in rural sectors due to frequent power cuts as unlike cable services, DTh allows rural consumer to access their favourite programs by using generator/ invertors.
The market share of various DTH players is mentioned below.
DishTV : 30%
Sun Direct: 25%
Tata Sky: 22%
BIG TV : 13%
Airtel : 8%
There is a hugegrowth opportunity for DTH in India and it is projected to grow at a CAGR of 24%. The future of DTH industry depends largely on pioneering marketing tactics implemented by the DTH players. In fact, opportunity in India is ten times more as compared to developed countries like the US andEurope.
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