Five pay DTH ops added 1.95 mn net active subs in Q4 FY19: TRAI

MUMBAI: The five pay direct to home (DTH) operators added 1.95 million subscribers to take the total net active subscriber base 72.44 million in Q4 of FY19, as per Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) Performance Indicator Report for the quarter. In the trailing quarter, the net active subscriber base was 70.49 million.

Bharti Airtel had reported that its DTH arm Airtel Digital TV had added 3.91 lakh net subscribers in Q4. Dish TV had reported additions of 47,000 net subscribers during the quarter. Tata Sky and Sun Direct added the bulk of the net active subscribers during the quarter as Independent TV is struggling to stay afloat.

In Q1 of FY19, the DTH operators added 1.84 million net active subscribers. The net active subscriber addition was a measly 80,000 in Q2. The Q3 net active subscriber addition was 1.04 million.

Thus, the pay DTH operators added 4.91 million net active subscribers during fiscal 2018-19.

Since its introduction in the year 2003, the Indian DTH service has displayed a phenomenal growth. During the quarter ending 31st March 2019, there were five pay DTH service providers in India. These included Dish TV, Tata Sky, Airtel Digital TV, Sun Direct and Independent TV (formerly Reliance Digital TV). Doordarshan has a free DTH service DD Free Dish.

The market share of the five pay DTH operators remained unchanged compared to the trailing quarter. The market share was Dish TV (40%), Tata Sky (25%), Airtel Digital TV (22%), Sun Direct (12%), and Independent TV (1%).

Cable TV

In its quarterly report, the TRAI stated that the addressability of the cable TV sector has been completed with digitisation. It further added that the country achieved 100% digitisation of Cable TV network.

This, it noted, is a stupendous achievement making India as the only large country where 100% digital cable has been achieved through mandatory regulations. As on 31st March 2019, there are 1,469 Multi System Operators (MSOs) registered with the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB).

TV channels

The TRAI noted that a total of 902 private satellite TV channels have been permitted by the MIB for uplinking only/downlinking only/uplinking and downloading both, as on 31st March 2019.

As per the reporting done by broadcasters in pursuance of the Tariff Order dated 3rd March 2017, there are 328 pay channels, as on 31st March 2019, which include 229 SD pay TV channels and 99 HD Pay TV channels.

The TRAI, in March 2017, notified the new regulatory framework for Broadcasting and Cable services. The framework comprises of Tariff Order 2017, Interconnection Regulations 2017 and Quality of Service & Consumer Protection Regulations 2017. The new regulatory framework has come into effect on 29th December 2018.

As per the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (Eighth) (Addressable Systems) Tariff Order, 2017 dated 3rd March 2017, every broadcaster has to offer all its channels on a-la-carte basis to all distributors of television channels and declare maximum retail price, per month, payable by a subscriber for each of its pay channel offered on a-la-carte basis.

Further, it is also permissible for a broadcaster to offer its pay channels in the form of bouquet and declare the maximum retail price, per month, of such bouquet payable by a subscriber.

FM Radio

Apart from the radio stations operated by All India Radio- the public broadcaster, as on 31st March 2019, there are 356 operational private FM Radio stations in 98 cities with operational 33 Private FM Radio broadcaster as compared to 355 private FM Radio Stations in 97 cities with operational 33 FM Radio broadcasters in the previous quarter.

During the quarter ending 31st March 2019, one new private FM Radio Station has become operational. The Mathrubhumi Printing & Publishing Co. Ltd operationalised a radio station in Alappuzha.

According to the TRAI report, the reported advertisement revenue during the quarter ending 31st March 2019 in respect of 355 private FM Radio stations is Rs. 623.96 crore as against Rs. 701.39 crore in respect of 354 private FM Radio stations in the previous quarter.

One FM Radio Broadcaster, Gwalior Firm Private Limited, operating in the city of Guwahati, has not submitted the advertisement revenue.

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