The Indian direct-to-home (DTH) satellite TV market is predicted to grow threefold to reach US$5 billion by 2020 thanks to the Government's mandatory digitisation programme.
In a new report, Singapore-based research group Media Partners Asia also forecasts that India's active DTH subscriber base will grow from 32.4 million in 2012 to 63.8 million by 2017, and 76.6 million by 2020.
"DTH industry revenues will reach $3.9 billion by 2017 and $5.3 billion by 2020. Revenue growth will be largely driven by increasing subscriber volumes," the study adds. Revenues were thought to have reached around $1.5 billion in 2012.
Inroads were made by DTH operators to improve per-subscriber economics through the launch of more packages and entry level pricing in 2012. However, Media Partners Asia warn that the majority of content renewals are now going to be based on a cost per subscriber (CPS) basis, rather than on a fixed rate.
"This will reduce the benefits from operating leverage that the industry previously enjoyed. Marketing and staff expenses will remain high as the larger phases of digital addressable system roll-out gets underway," the report says.
The gap between gross and active subscriber bases has also substantially widened, say researchers, with a cumulative DTH active subscriber base now standing at 32.4 million subscribers compared with 28.7 million subscribers in 2011.
DISH TV leads the pack of six private DTH operators with a market share of 27% in terms of gross additions, with Videocon d2h doing best in incremental additions in 2012. Tata Sky and Airtel Digital TV are close runners with 19% and 18% market share respectively.
These four platforms together accounted for 88% of total gross additions in 2012, according to Media Partners Asia.