January 2017


April To June 2016

On December 1, the TRAI released its report providing statistics for the Cable TV and DTH market segments, for the period April to June 2016. It must be observed that the TRAI report simply puts together data submitted to it by various players, regarding their operations. The listed details are not verified by TRAI.


The number of pay channels increased from 263 to 275 in the quarter ended 30 June 2016.

16 new pay channels were launched. 4 pay channels (9X Jalwa, 9X Jhakaas, Zee News, and NDTV India) migrated to FTA. The total number of licensed satellite channels increased to 892 from 868.

The new channels launched in the quarter were Star Pravah HD, Star Jalsha HD, Jalsha Movies HD, Vijay HD, Ten 3, Rishtey Complex, X Zone (now MTV Beats), Colors Kannada HD, Colors Marathi HD, Colors Bangla HD, News 18 Kerala, News 18 Tamil Nadu, News 18 Assam/North East, Movies Now 2 HD, Movies Now 2, and ETV HD. The four channels that converted to FTA include .

Siti Offers The Largest Number Of Channels: 454


Of all the Digital Platform Operators (Cable TV, DTH, HITS & IPTV) Siti Networks Ltd provides the maximum number of channels: 454.

Ortel provides the lowest number of channels at 201.

Siti also provides the maximum number of FTA channels while its subsidiary Indian Cable Net Company carries the maximum numbers of pay channels. Fastway Transmissions provides the maximum number of local channels: 89.

Tata Sky provides 479 pay and FTA channels. This is the highest among DTH operators.

Sun Direct provides 225 pay and FTA channels, which is the lowest among DTH operators.

Dish TV carries the highest number of FTA channels: 224.

Tata Sky has the maximum pay channels at 269.

DTH Growth Fell In Q-1 2017, Despite DAS


India currently has 6 pay DTH operators. FreeDish by Doordarshan is by far the largest DTH platform with an estimated 20 million plus viewers.

There were high expectations that DTH would add a large number of subscribers, due to compulsory digitisation in DAS Phase-3 & 4. However, the results were contrary. The rate of DTH subscriber growth actually fell!

The growth of registered & active DTH subscribers reduced from 4.5% & 4.6% in Q4-16 to 3.3% & 3.4% respectively in Q1-17.


Dish TV, Videocon d2h, Airtel & Reliance are listed companies and therefore required to declare their subscriber numbers to their shareholders.

TataSky & SUN Direct are not listed companies and therefore do not have to declare their subscriber count.

Table-2 summarises the number of active subscribers at each of these DTH platforms.


Indian DTH platforms have been struggling to raise their Average Revenue Per User (ARPU).

While Videocon d2h's ARPUs have risen incrementally, Airtel's ARPUs have spurted significantly.

On the other hand, Dish TV's ARPUs have remained stagnant, as it has always preferred to maximise its subscriber count to yield operational efficiencies and overall returns.


Last month DishTV and Videocon d2h declared plans to merge the two companies into DishTV. While this has obviously not been mentioned in the TRAI performance report, it will almost certainly impact the industry.

The proposed merger would also violate the TRAI's guidelines on restricting horizontal monopolies. These guidelines specify that no player should have more than a 33% share in the market that they address. If merged the enlarged DishTV platform will have a whopping 45% market share. n