DTH broadcasting gets a boost, thanks to IPL and World Cup

Broadcasters say this cricket season has had a positive impact on the industry resulting in increased TV viewership, despite TRAI’s new tariff regime

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After receiving a mild setback by TRAI’s New Tariff Order implementation (NTO) which mandates that customers select the channels and bouquets they want to subscribe to and for broadcasters to announce the MRP of the same the DTH broadcast business bounced back as traditional television viewing increased during the cricket season.

According to DTH players like Dish TV, Hathway and Airtel there has been a positive impact on the broadcast industry in wake of the Vivo IPL and the ICC World Cup, which has led to a rise of overall 20 per cent in the adoption of HD and SD channels.

Confirming the same, Anil Dua, Executive Director & Group CEO, Dish TV India Limited, said, “Traditionally, sports events such as the Cricket World Cup have a positive impact on the broadcast industry and result in increased TV viewership. Viewers increasingly wish to have a cinematic experience at home and the emergence of smart TV and large screen TV have pushed the demand for HD channels which offer better picture quality pictures with rich & natural colour.”

“Also, in the new tariff regime, the uptake of HD channels has seen a boost because of similar pricing of key SD and HD channels. This has helped us to increase our HD subscriber base and we have recorded a 20-25 percent jump in HD adoption during this period," he added.

According to the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), cricket content on television is approaching the one million hour mark annually, with 89,000 hours being clocked in 2018.

Non–sports channels carried 4,700 hours of cricket content in 2016 and upwards of 5,400 hours in 2018. The number of sports channels has witnessed a steady rise on the back of both HD channels and regional channel launches. Popular matches are also simultaneously broadcasted on non-sports channels and this number has gone north as well.

Registering an uptick in the number of HD subscribers another DTH giant Airtel told exchange4media that the company has seen a rise in the subscription of HD sports channels. “Since the IPL there has been a significant rise in the demand for the subscription of HD Sports channels,” a spokesperson from Airtel, said.

According to the Cable TV Operators’ Association nothing significant has changed post the new tariff plan. However with Cricket and other developments happening since April-end the situation began to improve and there was a slight growth witnessed by the industry.

Piyush Pankaj, Chief Strategy Officer & Head Video Business-GTPL Hathway, admitted that an increase in HD channel demand, has been seen in the cricketing season. “There has been a sudden surge in demand for HD channels. The demand was seen during the IPL and continued for ICC World Cup also. We have registered a 20 percent rise in the demand for HD channels. Demand for HD regional channels is also seeing an upward trend as people prefer to watch HD content on TV,” he said.

The industry hopes that the upward trend will continue as another mega sporting event the Vivo Pro Kabaddi League, kicks starts from July 20.

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