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June 2019


For more than 2 decades, broadcasters told consumers that Cable TV bills were unnecessarily high due to practices by cable operators.

The New Tariff Order (NTO) transparently declares broadcasters' Pay Channel prices directly to consumers. Interestingly, consumers have begun complaining of high prices and unsubscribed several channels. Broadcasters' subscription revenues have plummeted since the NTO.

Nine national level MSOs (1 of these has filed for bankruptcy) under the guise of AIDCF, along with some large broadcasters have proposed an absurdly high minimum net worth of ₹ 20 crores for an MSO license! Neither DTH & HITS Platforms or even Pay TV channels are required net worth of more than ₹ 10 crores. This is a blatant effort to monopolise CATV distribution. Interestingly, several of these national level MSOs, are part of Media Groups that also the broadcasters' companies!

Balance sheets of listed MSOs, indicate they have been loss making since their inception. Obviously, the large corporate MSO model (₹ 20 crore net worth), is intrinsically flawed & unable to exist profitably in the market.

Worldwide, DTH and Cable TV are being abandoned & distribution of TV channels is rapidly migrating to OTT. The Technical Article this month outlines TV broadcast trials on 5G.

'Tata Sky Binge' has launched as an OTT aggregation service @ ₹ 249 / month, partnered with Amazon. The gravity of this move & its implications for India's cable and DTH distribution have not been fully understood by the industry or press. Do read the article.

In the USA, MSOs and DTH platforms are rapidly losing customers. While DTH revenues are rapidly plunging, MSO revenues have risen substantially - from delivery of high-speed broadband. Clearly, the next era will provide primary revenues from broadband. Indian Cable operators need to quickly build up networks to deliver high speed broadband to their consumers, and not rely on TV and Pay Channel revenues.