DAS STATUS FOR PHASES 3 & 4
Minister of state for I&B Rajyavardhan Rathore provided the Rajya Sabha a detailed status of STBs seeded in the compulsory digitisation process, being enforced by the government.
He said that all homes in Phases I & II had been digitised, except in Tamil Nadu, which is pending due to court cases.
In its annual report, the MIB had stated that 8.5 million cable STBs have been installed in Phase I cities, viz:
♣ Delhi 3.4 million
♣ Mumbai 2.6 million
♣ Kolkata 2.2 million &
♣ Chennai 0.35 million
In the second phase, 21.5 million STBs had been seeded. Hence, a total of 30 million STBs have been seeded in Phases 1 & II.
Tamil Nadu is an anomaly in the country. The state government owns and operates Aarasu. The Central Government has refused to license Aarasu. The matter is pending in the Madras High Court, and the state government has effectively stalled DAS implementation in the state, including switch off of analog Cable TV signals.
Tamil Nadu, which had a whopping 17.7 million homes in Phases III and IV, has seen a seeding of 3.84 million STBs representing just 21.72% seeding.
PHASES III & IV
Excluding Tamil Nadu, there are 96.5 million TV homes in Phases III & IV.
Tamil Nadu by itself has 17.7 million TV homes.
Hence Phases III & IV including all of Tamil Nadu represents a total of 114.2 million TV homes.
Of these, the MIB claims, 64.4 million TV homes have taken STBs. This implies that 49.8 million or 56.39% of the remaining homes (Tamil Nadu + Phases III & IV) have taken STBs. A huge 44% of TV homes in Phases 3 & 4 had not taken STBs, till 14 March 2017 - just 15 days prior to the analog sunset deadline of end March 2017.
For Phase III & IV, the Ministry had developed a MIS online software for collection of seeding status of STBs. Since the areas of Phase III & IV overlap, the combined state wise seeding progress for these 2 phases has been declared. These are summarised in Table-1.
Maharashtra has the highest STB installations at 7.2 million out of 10.1 million TV homes (71.18%).
92.93% of Kerala's 7.14 million TV homes, have taken STBs.
Gujarat and Haryana have 87.88% and 78.15% seeding respectively.
Telangana with 5 million homes has seen only 40.41% seeding. In Andhra Pradesh, the 70.72% of 8.3 million homes have been digitised.
In UP, 5.87 million STBs have been seeded out of 11 million required.
POOR DTH TOO
As detailed in a separate article this month, DTH too has had very poor offtake of STBs during he past 9 months. Hence, unlike the common perception, DTH is not mopping up Cable TV STB installs.
The figures as on 14th March 2017 show that 50 million TV homes have simply refused to go digital, and are willing to give up their pay channel viewing from April.
This is a huge figure, and assuming existing ARPUs for these networks at just Rs. 70 per month, implies a loss of Rs. 350 Crores per month, or Rs. 4,200 Crores per year.
In far flung rural areas, micro analog Cable TV networks may continue to operate below the government scanner.
By law, pay channel broadcasters will shut off their IRDs to these network, who will probably continue to operate analog networks delivering only Free-To-Air channels.
A bulk of these 50 million TV homes without DAS can only migrate to Doordarshan's FreeDish for their TV entertainment.
Pay Channel Broadcasters will have lost 50 million TV homes or 250 million viewers. Besides subscription, it will significantly impact their ad revenues. This will inevitably force many Pay Channels to turn FTA and join FreeDish.
A significant part of the industry's value chain will be permanently destroyed.