The television tariff order that came into effect earlier this year has not only altered life for all stakeholders, but has also upended the pecking order in some segments, notably in the direct-to-home (DTH) market.
Data from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), which monitors the broadcasting as well as telecommunications market in the country, shows that Tata Sky has taken the lead over Dish TV in the DTH segment for the June quarter.
This is the first time, say analysts, that Dish TV has been dislodged from its No.1 position, which it has held for years. Tata Sky now has a share of 32 per cent to Dish TV's 31 per cent, data shows. This is a jump of seven percentage points over the March quarter, when Tata Sky had a share of 25 per cent. Dish TV, on the other hand, had a share of 40 per cent in the March quarter, implying a drop of nine percentage points.
Mails sent to the companies elicited no response till the time of going to press. But Abneesh Roy, executive vice-president, research (institutional equities), Edelweiss, said Tata Sky was better prepared in handling the shift. "The profile of consumers also varies for Dish TV and Tata Sky. The latter is positioned as a premium service and has more consumers in tier-I and tier-II markets. Dish TV, in contrast, has 60-70 per cent of its consumers in tier-III and -IV markets. Given the rural slowdown, subscriber additions have been muted for Dish TV over the past few quarters. Tata Sky, on the other hand, has continued to add subscribers despite the new tariff order leading to churn in both cable and DTH segments."
Total subscriber base for the DTH market in the June quarter stood at 68.92 million versus 72.44 million in the March quarter. But the number of active users within this base has risen in the June quarter to 54.26 million versus 51.09 million in the March quarter. By active users the reference here is to an average of paying users on day 7, 14, 21, and 28 of a month.
The DTH market itself is undergoing consolidation as players’ tackle competition from over-the-top (OTT) players as well as Reliance Jio, which last month launched its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) service. Speculation remains that Airtel DTH may buy out Dish TV, though no announcement has been made so far by the two players.
Sources say Tata Sky and Dish TV had to change in the wake of the new tariff order, tying up with OTT players such as Hotstar, Amazon Prime, Eros Now, and Zee5 and launching hybrid set-top boxes that offers content from multiple platforms. Tata Sky has also launched Tata Sky Binge that offers subscribers access to a library of 5,000 movie titles.