After the scorching pace of last three years, the six-horse race of India’s direct-to-home television business has finally run out of steam. Among 45 million gross subscribers in 2011 shared between Airtel Digital, Tata Sky, Dish TV, Sun Direct, Videocon D2H and Big TV, an embarrasingly high 15 million subscribers are inactive. Inactive subscribers are those who have DTH connections but have not renewed their subscriptions. What makes the numbers worse is a 50% jump in inactive DTH consumers over 2010 when their numbers stood at 10 million on a gross base of 33 million. Also, in terms of gross subscriber additions, 2011 saw only 36% growth over previous year whereas in 2010, the industry had recorded a 50% growth in gross additions over 2009 figures, indicating a slowdown.
The latest figures are part of an analysis by Media Partners Asia (MPA), a leading independent international media research agency. “The net additions (paying subscribers) in 2011 were around 8-9 million, taking overall net subscriber numbers to 29-30 million on a gross base of 44-45 million,” said Vivek Couto, executive director, MPA.