India’s television industry has recorded a growth of around 5%, standing at Rs 72,000 crore for 2021-22 as compared to Rs 68,500 crore in the previous fiscal, shows the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) annual report for FY 2021-22.
Subscription revenues, which account for a significant portion of overall industry revenue, have decreased by 6.22%, falling from Rs 43,400 crore in 2020–21 to Rs 40,700 crore in 2021–22, according to TRAI. According to TRAI’s annual report, which was presented to the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha, the broadcasting and cable services sector had another busy and eventful year in 2021–22. According to the report, the dynamics of the cable & satellite TV market have changed significantly over the last decade.
TRAI notified the new regulatory framework for Broadcasting and Cable Services provided through addressable systems on 3 March 2017. The aforesaid new regulatory framework was the inferred w.e.f. 29 December 2018 The new regulatory framework was quite successful in establishing harmonized business processes in the sector, level-playing-field, bringing-in transparency in TV channel pricing, reducing litigations among stakeholders, and providing equal opportunities to smaller Multi System Operators (MSOs). As a result, there was a pronounced reduction in disputes among stakeholders as well as in entry barriers. New Regulatory Framework for Broadcasting and Cable Services also gave freedom to consumers to select television channels they want to watch,” the report states.
TRAI further submitted that during the year 2021-22, several key consultation papers were released on topics such as ‘Promoting Local Manufacturing in the Television Broadcasting Sector’, ‘Ease of Doing Business in Telecom and Broadcasting Sector’, and ‘Market Structure/Competition in Cable TV services’. No recommendations were given to the government during 2021-22 as these consultation papers were in progress.
According to the report, the TV broadcasting sector encompasses approximately 350 broadcasters, out of which there are 42 pay broadcasters at the end of March 2022. Further, there were 1764 (Multi System 3 Operators (MSOs) registered with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB), 1 HITS operator, 4 pay DTH operators, and 20 IPTV operators, at the end of March 2022, in addition to the public service broadcaster Doordarshan, providing a free-to-air DTH service in India. Further, as per the information provided by MIB, as on 1 January 2022, there were a total number of 81,706 cable operators registered in the country.
The total number of satellite TV channels permitted by the MIB has increased substantially from 875 at the end of March 2018 to 898 at the end of March 2022. The number of Standard Definition (SD) pay TV channels has grown from 213 at the end of March 2018 to 248 at the end of March 2022. At the end of March 2022, there were a total of 97 operational HD channels.
TRAI stated that as reported by the pay DTH operators, pay DTH has attained a total active subscriber base of around 66.92 million at the end of March 2022. This is in addition to the subscribers of the DD Free Dish (free DTH services of Doordarshan).
At the end of March 2022, there were four pay DTH service providers catering to this subscriber base. It is important to note that previously (up to March 2019) the subscription figure of total active subscribers included inactive and temporarily suspended subscribers for not more than the last 120 days. However, as per the new regulatory framework of Broadcasting and Cable TV Services, the total active subscribers include subscribers who have been inactive or temporarily suspended for the last 90 days.