June 2017


The country is preparing for a migration to GST in July. Cable TV and DTH services will be major beneficiaries, with entertainment tax & service tax subsumed into a 18% GST. There will also be a level playing field, as all states are bound to levy the same GST rate.

Goods i.e. Hardware for Cable TV and DTH will however be hit hard. STBs will be levied 28% GST.

The Indian industry has invested heavily in response to the Prime Minister's 'Make In India' call. One can only hope that the GST rates proposed have been well thought through, to safeguard these investments.

Several industry bodies have made requests to reduce proposed GST on their goods or services. However, with more than 1,200 goods and 500 services in the 4-tiered tax slabs, there is little hope for a review.

In May, Jio rolled out its high-speed broadband trials in pockets of Mumbai & Delhi. Delivering 100 MBps via optical fibre, Jio's router also provides for a future telephone jack. Press reports speculate the service will be commercially offered at ₹ 500 per month for 100 GB download. An IPTV service is also likely to be bundled later.

Hathway has commenced its 150 & 200 MBps commercial service in Chennai & has promised similar roll outs soon in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Kolkata. Asianet too now offers its 200 MBPS fibre broadband service @ ₹ 999 per month in Kerala.

Excessive litigation by broadcasters & allied DTH platforms is holding back not just the TRAI's reforms, but our entire industry. Indian Urban consumers are moving away from linear TV as their primary entertainment. 5 years from now, cable TV and DTH will have lost atleast 50% of its existing urban eyeballs to OTT and online entertainment. Our industry as a whole, is missing the forest for the trees. We all need to think afresh and move ahead.