Indian cable and DTH operators rank as one among the top in the world in the number of subscribers in terms of Pay-TV or digital. The Media Partners Asia (MPA) – Media Route 26 India report released recently showed a list of India & global pay-TV operators in terms of the subscribers.
Dish TV is the first Indian operator to be on the list at fifth spot with 18.5 million pay-TV subscribers and 18.5 million digital subscribers. Den Networks had 13.0 million pay-TV subscribers and 6.8 million digital subscribers. Tata Sky had 14.8 pay-TV subscribers and 14.8 million digital subscribers. Airtel Digital TV had 14 million pay-TV subscriber and 14 million digital subscribers.
Top of the list in terms of subscribers the around the world is cable operator Liberty Global in USA which by December 2014 had 23.5 million Pay-TV subscribers and 15.9 million digital subscribers. Comcast has 22.4 million pay-TV subscribers and 22.2 million digital subscribers. DirecTV USA which is a DTH player has 20.4 million pay-TV subscribers and 20.4 digital TV-subscribers. BesTV China which is an IPTV player had 27.4 million pay-TV subscribers and 27.4 million digital subscribers.
While Time Warner of USA had 10.8 million pay-TV subscribers and 10.2 million digital subscribers, Indian cable company Hathway matches it at 11.7 million pay-TV subscribers and 8.5 million digital subscribers. Other Indian cable and DTH operators to follow include Siti Cable, Videcon D2H, Sun Direct, InCable, Digi Cable and Big TV.
The MPA report further gives a comparison of media metrics in which India’s TV household penetration is expected to increase to 63% in 2015 from 62% in 2014. This is one of the lowest in comparison to many countries in Asia and Australia. Even Pakistan has a higher TV household penetration at 75%. Only Indonesia has a lower TV household penetration at 60% in 2014 and is expected to increase to 61% in 2015. Countries such as Japan, Singapore and Honk Kong have 100% TV household penetration. While Australia has 99% TV household penetration, China has 97% TV household penetration and is expected to rise to 98% in 2015.
However, Pay-TV penetration is one of the highest in India at 80% in 2014 and expected to increase to 81% in 2015. It is behind Korea, Honk Kong and Taiwan which have pay-TV penetration of 100%, 89% and 89% respectively. Digital penetration of pay-TV is expected to grow quite a lot in 2015 from 52% in 2014 to 59% in 2015. However, digital penetration of pay-TV is much lower in comparison to other countries such as Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore which are at 100%.
While this may be so, pay-TV expenditure per household in India is much lower in comparison to many countries in Southeast Asia. Pay-TV expenditure per household in India is expected to increase to US$44.4 in 2015 from US$41.5 in 2014. In China it is US$59 pay-TV expenditure per household in 2014 which would grow to US$62.6 in 2015. In Australia it is the highest at US$1,131.1 for pay-TV expenditure per TV household in 2014 but is expected to reduce to US$1,117.9 in 2015.
This is reflected in the financials of such platforms in India. Cable and DTH operators in India are also low in terms of sales and earning net profits than other the US, UK, Malaysia and New Zealand. Dish TV for instance in FY2014 recorded sales of US$415.5 million, in comparison with US$68,775 million of top sales earner Comcast. Comcast also made a net profit of US$8,592 million, while Dish TV recorded a decline in net profit to US$26.1 million. Similarly, pay-TV platforms such as Liberty Global, DirecTV, Dish Network USA, BSkyB, Liberty Media Capital, Cable Vision, Astro Malaysia and Sky Television all are higher in terms of sales and net profits.
Hathway Cable in FY2014 recorded sales of US$262.2 million and declined in terms of net profits to US$19.9 million. Siti Cable during the same time recorded sales US$110.2 million and net profits declined to US$13.8 million. Den Networks recorded sales of US$181.8 million and net profits increased to US$12.4 million.