Advanced STBs, content and innovation will drive growth for Cable & DTH industry in 2020

Industry experts opine that the upcoming year will be about providing access to wider content from both linear TV and OTT platforms to customers

e4m by Sonam Saini
Published: Dec 31, 2019 8:16 AM  | 4 min read
DTH and Cable

The year 2019 has been an action-packed year for broadcasters and for the cable and DTH sector as well.

As per the KPMG’s India’s Digital Future report 2019, the subscription revenues grew at a modest 8.1% in FY19 to reach Rs 46.3 crore with the NTO implementation hiccups costing growth in the last quarter.

The report also states that while the cable and satellite universe was reported to have expanded to 197 million households by end of 2018 with digital cable gaining the most, there was an erosion of the active subscriber base in the last quarter with a decline of nearly 12-15 million households in the overall C&S HH base. The potential reasons for this decline were non-renewal of subscriptions, the transition of subscribers to alternate sources of entertainment such as OTT (although this was only minimal as per our industry discussions) and certain blackouts owing to the implementation of the NTO. As a result, subscription revenues took a hit in the last quarter with subscribers facing multiple issues, including higher cable bills, while transitioning to the new regime.

Since 2019 been the year of transformation and educating the customer about the new packs, the upcoming year will be about providing access to wider content from both linear TV and OTT to customers. Anil Malhotra, Chief Executive Officer, SITI Networks said that the year 2020 will have two very clear themes for his company and the industry in general. “Firstly, it is the year when a customer comes into focus. While 2019 was about getting and delivering customer choice, the new year 2020 will be when Customer Experience takes centre-stage. Secondly, the year 2020 will be about adding more value on the wire, be it Broadband, Add-on Services or Hybrid Set-Top Boxes. I am sure we are all in for some exciting times ahead.”

Echoing this, Anurag Kumar, Chief Communication Officer, Tata Sky said, "Three things in our industry which we believe customers are looking for -- better service, better quality and access to wider and better content. This is where a platform like Tata Sky comes into the picture. We believe that the future will continue to be shaped around these three vectors when it comes to the DTH sector. For instance, when it comes to access to a wider variety of content, today people are looking for a greater number of TV channels including regional TV channels, more HD channels and even access to curated content and OTT content. That's the kind of demand variety Tata Sky is equipped to cater to and is ready to fulfil.”

Maharashtra Cable Operator Foundation (MCOF) president, Arvind Prabhu said that the key things which are going to drive the industry are the FTTH (Fiber To The Home) and increased broadband connectivity all over the country. He further added, “The entry of Reliance Jio into the market will educate about the services which can be offered and I think that is going to be a propelling factor for the industry. Also, OTT will bring a lot of changes in traditional viewing pattern of the viewer.”

In the year 2019, the industry was disrupted by NTO and lot of players including Tata Sky, DishTV, Airtel TV, Hathway and Siti Network have launched an array of new products and services in that time from a convergence point of view.

Sukhpreet Singh, Corporate Head- Marketing, Dish TV, believes that the year 2020 will be about maturing of the subscribers after NTO in terms of how they can choose their packages and plans. and how they choose to manage their content and the outflow of money on entertainment.

“We have seen that more customers are using self-care and online means to manage their content and pack. They are using digital touchpoints, like websites and apps. So that is something which is going to gallop much further going forward to 2020.”

He further added, “The second trend would be that more and more subscribers are going to get into the hybrid or best of both worlds kind of entertainment consumption. We will see mainstreaming consumption happening of the online content. The third trend will be at the lower end if you look at the new consumers coming into the pay-TV fold.

He also added that DTH is traditionally a B2C business. “We go directly to the consumers, we provide them with our content directly and they pay us directly. We are in a subscription business. Whereas, if you see a lot of other pay-TV providers might be a B2B kind of a business service is more localised and it is not an organised service. So, the fourth trend might be that we might see a lot of people shifting to DTH for more organised and easy to use content.

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