Good innings for DTH providers

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on March 07, 2011

Thanks to the frenzy of a cricket-crazy nation, direct-to-home (DTH) service providers have seen a big jump in sales — as high as 40 per cent for some — in the run-up (January-February period) to the ICC World Cup. The companies are now eyeing the later stages of the tournament, scheduled to take place in March, as their main growth driver.

Market leader Dish TV confirmed that it has seen 40 per cent growth in monthly subscriptions and 10 times hike in sales of its HD format in the run-up to the World Cup.

“If we compare between World Cup and non-World Cup periods, there has been a 40 per cent hike with HD activation seeing the maximum subscriptions,” Mr Salil Kapoor, chief operating officer, Dish TV, told Business Line.

Reliance Big TV too has seen a 50 per cent rise in its sales graph in February over December-January sales figures. While standard definition boxes have done “maximum business”, HD feed demand is “good”, company sources said. The company expects sales to peak in March, especially during the final stages of the tournament.

Says Mr Umesh Rao, chief marketing officer and senior Vice-President, Reliance Digital TV: “Once exams are over there might be a rise in set-top box sales, especially for those who had deferred the purchase.”

Videocon, the latest entrant into the DTH market, and Airtel Digital TV both have seen a hike of nearly 25 per cent in subscriptions during January and February over the non World Cup period. Videocon, which clocked 2.8 lakh subscriptions in February — 30,000 more than its January sales — is looking for another 20 per cent increase in DTH sales in March.

Airtel Digital, which pioneered the HD broadcast of matches during World Cup football last year, expects its monthly subscriber base to cross the three lakh mark by the end of the tournament. The company currently has nearly 2.5 lakh monthly subscribers. “Our market share is likely to go up by the end of the tournament,” Mr Sugato Banerji, chief marketing officer, Airtel Digital TV, said.

According to industry estimates, the total DTH subscriber base stands at 30 million in December 2010, and is expected to grow to nearly 40 million by March 2012.

Published on March 07, 2011

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