q scatmag.com - Satellite & Cable TV


October 2018



According to the TRAI's July 2018 report, the number of wired broadband subscribers remained almost constant at 17.95 million in July compared to 17.9 million in June 2018. As on 31st July 2018, the top 5 Wired Broadband Service providers were:

 BSNL (9.15 M),

 Bharti Airtel (2.21 M)

 Atria (1.34 M)

 MTNL (0.83 M) &

 Hathway (0.75 M).

In contrast, there were 447.12 million wireless broadband subscribers, up 2.93%. The top 5 telcos had 97.75% market share, viz: Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd (227.05 million), Bharti Airtel (95.33 million), Vodafone (63.79 million), Idea Cellular (43.52 million) and BSNL (20.18 million).


Hulu's live TV streaming service now has more than 1 million subscribers. This is just 5% of Hulu's total subscriber base of 20 million, but is significant given that live TV on Hulu commenced just a year ago.

Hulu has invested a lot into making its live TV service feel more like cable TV. There is a channel guide to select TV channels (similar to an STB) as well as the ability to record straight from the guide.

Hulu is the third live TV streaming service to announce over 1 million subscribers, after Sling TV, with 2.3 million, and DirecTV Now, with 1.8 million. YouTube TV will soon achieve that milestone, it had around 800,000 subscribers in May.


To add to the plethora of our industry bodies, the Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) was announced in September 2018.

India Today, NDTV, Indian Express, Times of India, Dainik Jagran, Hindustan Times, Eenadu and Malayala Manorama, who collectively serve 70% of India's online audience, came together to form the body to promote and protect interests of online media.

The organization is committed to providing the most credible news in all languages to the Indian audience, to self-regulation and to promoting the business and editorial interests of all members.

The organization is open to any online news publisher; but each membership will need to be cleared by the board.


60% to 70% of users of Balaji Telefilms' OTT platform - ALTBalaji drop off, on an anualised basis, according to its CEO - Sunil Lulla. ALTBalaji added 2.1 million paid subscribers in the April-June quarter to its existing base of 1.2 million for the year ended 31 March 2018.

"I will give you the June 30 number and that number stands at 2.1 + 1.2 million. Luckily we are seeing a retention of anywhere between 30% and 40% on an annualised basis," Balaji Telefilms Group CEO Sunil Lulla told analysts during an earnings conference call.

ALTBalaji will soon be integrated on DTH platforms & ISPs.

The direct download ARPU on ALTBalaji is ₹ 25 per month while from the telcos it is ₹ 15 per month. 80% of the business is via telcos.


TRAI has decided to reduce the scope of consultation for the proposed regulatory framework for Over-The-Top (OTT) communication platforms such as WhatsApp and Skype.

Telecom operators, who once cried foul over the regulatory imbalance, are now seeing rising data consumption on their networks because of such apps, according to the regulator.

"We have reduced the scope of that paper. We have already issued recommendations on net neutrality and previously on differential pricing. Now, very few issues are left with respect to OTT. We have to look at regulatory imbalance (with respect to telecom operators). But telecom operators themselves are saying that OTTs are helping data consumption," said a senior TRAI official, requesting anonymity.


Reports are that Flipkart may buy a stake in Star's OTT platform - Star India-owned Hotstar.

A Hotstar representative denied any such talks with Flipkart, but said it was open to partnerships that can help grow the internet ecosystem in India and beyond, according to the report.

Flipkart has already tied up with Hotstar to launch a video advertising platform in July. Hotstar is also one of the internet partners for Flipkart Plus, its customer loyalty programme competing with Amazon Prime.

Hotstar offers premium content for an annual subscription of ₹ 999.


Deepakjit Singh, CEO of Amagi, says traditional broadcast facilities will soon shift to data centres.

"Between 2 to 5 years, the brickand- mortar facilities will no longer be the broadcasting facilities. It's going to go into the data centers. Data centers are obviously more secure and better equipped," Singh said.

Amagi deals in cloud-managed broadcast services and targeted advertising for TV and OTT. At IBC, the company was discussing recent announcements including news that it would begin doing dynamic ad replacement services for the SonyLiv OTT platform. Amagi also recently helped Quest TV, a new over-the-air broadcast network in the U.S., build a fully cloud-based playout and traffic technology stack.


Bharti Airtel has selected content security provider Irdeto to secure all content offered on Airtel's Digital TV services.

Irdeto will deploy its Irdeto Armor for Android TV, Irdeto Cloaked CA and Middleware on Airtel's STBs.

Open platforms like hybrid STBs offer customers a vast choice of on-demand & linear content. Customers can enjoy flexibility and convenience of selecting whatever content, whenever they want it.


Hathway is integrating Netflix and delivering it seamlessly from its Cable TV STBs. The STB remote will have a dedicated 'Netflix' button.

Hathway's subscribers will also be able to pay for their Netflix subscription through their Hathway bill.

Hathway's Netflix service will be bundled with high-speed, unlimited fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) monthly plans.

Netflix has similar distribution arrangements with telecom operators Airtel and Vodafone as well as DTH platforms Tata Sky and Airtel Digital TV.


According to press reports, TRAI has fined Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular, for slipping on various service quality benchmarks for the March quarter.

JIO has been fined ₹ 34 lakh for Point of Interconnect congestion, accessibility of call centres or customer care, and percentage of calls answered by operators (voice to voice) in a set timeframe.

Bharti Airtel has been fined about ₹ 11 lakh for poor metering and billing (postpaid), accessibility of call centre and customer care, percentage of calls answered by operators within defined timeframe parameters.

Idea Cellular has been fined about ₹ 12.5 lakh & Vodafone ₹ 4 lakh.


ACT Fibernet, now offers Flipkart customers, fibre broadband plans when they buy smart TVs.

ACT Fibernet offers 2 months free subscription, upon purchase of a 6 months subscription, with an additional 1500 GB data and a free wireless router.

The offer valid till end November 2018 across all 15 cities where the ACT Fibernet has a presence.


JIO is connecting more than 400 LTE sites which are beyond the reach of terrestrial backhaul services through a satellite backhaul. It will use 2 ISRO satellites & technology from Hughes Communications (HCIL).

Jio has awarded a contract worth over $10 million to Hughes Communications (HCIL) to set up 2 earth stations in Mumbai and Nagpur, and will set up 2 mini hubs in Leh and Port Blair. The focus will be on remote, hilly & island areas, but will also cover remote areas in the mainland in Maharashtra, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh.

While other telcos have used satellite backhaul for their 2G & 3G networks, JIO is the first to use it for 4G, since JIO's service is exclusively 4G.


Hathway has launched a new GPON broadband plan offering 300 MBps speed with a monthly data limit of 2 TB, priced at just ₹ 1,250 per month.

Initially, the service is available in Chennai, but will be extended to other parts of the country by end November.

Hathway offers broadband service in 20 cities and cable TV service in 200 cities and towns, it added.


The stock of Zee Entertainment hit a 20-month low amid concerns investments in its video-ondemand website Zee5 are likely to drag margins in the near term.

"They will have to increase the expenses to gain the market share and to stay in the competition. In live streaming, they will have to compete with big players like Amazon and Netflix which could put pressure on their margins for the next two-three years," said A K Prabhakar, head of Research at IDBI Capital.


Star India's Hotstar OTT platform Hotstar has expanded its international presence with the entry in the UK market. The service is already available in US and Canada.

UK subscribers will have to fork out £11.99 monthly, or £59.99 for the annual plan.

The platform will offer old content from Star India's network of channels besides live sports.

Hotstar has just completed its first year in the United States where it is priced at $99.99 annually, providing consumers complete access to the cricket calendar and entertainment library throughout the year. For monthly subscribers in the US and Canada, the entertainment pack costs $9.99 a month, and a sports + entertainment pack for $19.99 a month. n