The latest quarterly report on media by Merrill Lynch forecasts that the Indian pay markets will grow from their estimated size of Rs 290 crores in 2001 to Rs 1830 crores by year 2006.
According to the survey, this growth would come on the back of increase in cable TV penetration to 49 million cable connections by 2006, against about 32 million homes now, increase in the broadcasters’ share in the cable revenue pie and rise in cable rents to Rs 250 per month.
Area cable operators (ACOs) currently retain about 91.5 per cent of the cable revenues, while multi-system operators like SitiCable, INCablenet and Hathaway, get 2.5 per cent. Broadcasters manage to get just 6 per cent of the cable revenue pie. This is all set to change with the shift to pay markets.
As a result of the headstart that the Star group had with its sports channel, it is expected to retain a strong hold over the pay market cornering 80 per cent of the subscription ‘pay’ revenues even in the financial year 2001. This is expected to amount to over Rs 200 crores.
The report also concludes that Zee with its offer of 15 channels on a pay bouquet will open up the market considerably.