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DTH Market to See Growth, but Profits Uncertain

India DTH market The DTH market is expected to grow 57% by December this year as opposed to the same period last year, according to the latest projections made by Media Partners Asia (MPA), the international media research agency.

The five DTH operators, Big TV, Airtel Digital, Dish TV, Tata Sky and Sun Direct are expected to add six million new subscribers by the end of December, to take the overall subscriber base to over 17 million. But the report also pointed out that the DTH operators will face rising economic challenges.

Although one-third of the subscribers of DTH service in Asia will come from India alone by end of the year, the five DTH operators will still have only around 30% market share by 2013, as compared to 70% for the cable operators. Vivek Couto, executive director, MPA, said, "The economics of the DTH industry are risky, as both subscriber acquisition costs and other key operating expenses, including content, will continue to outweigh revenues for another five years for most players."

While some DTH service providers are optimistic about their growth. Reliance BIG TV said it will cross the three million subscriber mark by the end of the current financial year. Mahesh Prasad, President, Reliance Communications, for BIG TV, explained, "Currently, Reliance BIG TV has a subscriber base of 1.8 million and is aiming at a 40% share of the incremental subscriber base in the Indian DTH Sector."
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