TRANSPONDER DEMAND TO TRIPLE
Indian demand for transponders will outpace domestic supply, according to a CASBAA - PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report "Easing India's Capacity Crunch." CASBAA's report was released at the CASBAA India Forum 2013 held on March 7, in New Delhi.
CASBAA is an industrybased advocacy group dedicated to the promotion of multi-channel TV via cable, satellite, broadband and wireless video networks across Asia.
The report projects a significant increase in demand for satellite transponders required by Indian TV broadcasters and DTH operators. The demand will increase almost 300% in the next 5 years.
From 73 transponders required by the DTH industry in 2012, the study, projects that this number will increase to more than 220 in 2017 to meet customer demand.
TV CHANNEL GROWTH
During 2012 to 2017, the Indian television industry is projected to have a Compounded Average Growth Rate of 14%.
The continued proliferation of pay-TV services, coupled with cable digitization, growth of regional channels and entry of foreign players will provide a fillip to growth.
Given these driving factors, India can potentially have about 1,600 licensed channels by 2017, of which about 1,300 channels, (80% of licensed channels), are expected to be operational.
Further, high growth in the number of HD channels is expected, due to growth in digital platforms coupled with increasing penetration of high-end TV sets that support HD viewing experiences.
By 2017, India is likely to have approx 130 HD channels.
This growth in the number of channels will lead to higher demand for both C-band and Ku-band transponders.
The report notes that ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization), is working hard to launch new satellites and procure additional spectrum to meet the burgeoning demand. Nevertheless, says the report, "it is unlikely that any single satellite operator will be able to fulfill even current demand, let alone the future demand for satellite capacity."
Foreign satellite operators will need to be encouraged to invest in capacity to serve the Indian market.
"In spite of the urgent requirements for satellite capacity, there are challenges placing practical restrictions on leasing transponder capacity from foreign satellite operators by Indian players," said John Medeiros, CASBAA's Chief Policy Officer. "Key hurdles include procedural requirements and delays and short contract durations inducing uncertainty for both Indian players and outside investors."
Smita Jha, leader of PwC India's Entertainment and Media practice, said ""Satellite capacity constraints impede the growth momentum of the Indian TV sector and impact the ecosystem of the industry. The capacity crunch could restrict the launch of local regional channels and special interest channels and could lead to a distortion of competitive balances in multiple ways."
The report encourages the Indian government to formulate policies and processes to spur growth in satellite services, and to explore opening up additional frequency bands for use by TV industry players. It suggests measures such as allowing DTH operators more freedom to easily lease more space on authorized satellites they already use, lengthening the allowable term of satellite transponder contracts, improving publicly-available market information from the government and ensuring adequate spectrum is available for satellite use in India. n