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DTH, digital cable penetration to drive TV growth: Report

Business Standard:  September, 2014

New Delhi: A gradual acceleration in pay TV (television) penetration will drive major growth for the television sector in five years, aided by the digitisation of cable TV in India, according to the latest Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)-PricewaterhouseCoopers report on the media and entertainment sector in India. It was released here on Friday.

Pay TV refers to direct to home (DTH) and digital cable.

According to the report, TV penetration in India is 60 per cent, much lower than in developed countries where it is greater than 90 per cent. "Hence, there is considerable amount of potential to increase the number of TV households in India. Pay TV penetration among TV-owning households is expected to increase steadily in five years, driving the growth in television sector," the report said.

As of 2013, India has 129 million TV-owning households, of which 64 million are analogue cable TV subscribers and 30 million have digital cable. DTH subscribers are 35 million. This number is expected to register higher growth in five years.

According to projections in the CII PwC report, 2017 onwards, DTH would grow to 64 million in 2018 from 56 million in 2017 while digital cable subscribers' pie would go up to 90 million from 85 million in 2017.

Analogue cable subscribers' base is expected to crash down to about 5 million by 2018, primarily led by cable TV digitisation plans of the government of India. Driven by digitisation, the number of digital cable subscribers is expected to rise, resulting into steep fall in the analogue cable households. In the next five years, digital cable subscribers are expected to grow at CAGR of 25 per cent to reach about 90 million in 2018, the report noted. DTH subscription pie is expected to witness growth of 13 per cent during the next five years.

During the unveiling of the report here on Friday, information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javdekar said that the cable TV digitization was on track and the third phase would begin from April 2015.

"Third phase would be finished by end of 2015 and then after a gap of a month or two we will start the fourth phase of digitization in India," the minister said.

The report further added that driven by these factors and higher realization level s post digitisation, the pay TV ARPU (average revenue per user) is expected to reach about Rs 311 by 2018 which was at around Rs 182 in 2013.

According to Javdekar the ministry was also planning to digitize the archives of Doordarshan and All India Radio and six companies have already filed expression of interest regarding the same.