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January 2018


Broadcasters as well as Cable TV and DTH distributors strive for increased ARPUs (Average Revenue Per User). However, the Indian viewer has refused to loosen his purse strings, and pay more for 'Value Added Services' like Pay Per View, Video On Demand or expensive niche channels such as Exam tutoring.

However, viewers fork out 100% premium for HD Channels, even when the same content is available for less as a Standard Definition (SD) channel.


According to a recent BARC India report 'The HD Landscape', 22 to 40 year youth are the biggest consumers of HD channels with a 35% share of HD viewership. The report also points out:

 The number of HD channels increased 41% (59 HD in Oct 2015 to 83 HD in Sept 2017)

 Their viewership share grew a whopping 169%.

Of the 83 HD channels in September 2017, 50 channels had both SD and HD feeds, providing consumers an option for premium and standard picture quality.

In the same period, SD channels jumped 16% from 445 in 2015 to 517 channels in 2017 & SD viewership grew 25%.


The top 3 genres in HD viewing are GEC (62%), movies (22%), and sports (11%), accounting for 95% of HD viewing.

The share of GEC is understandable as 31 out of 83 HD channels are from this genre.


HD is certainly an urban phenomenon. However, contrary to popular belief, HD viewing was more popular in smaller urban towns below 1 million size.

It was equally popular with males (51%) as with female audiences.


Facts from the BARC study imply that it is profitable to seed HD STBs.

Also, HD STBs seeding should be targeted in Urban centres of less than 1 million. n