When you are at IBC, you donâ€™t necessarily expect to find out some interesting, and very well-informed news on the Indian IPTV market, but sure enough that is what happened today. I spoke to a CEO of one of Indiaâ€™s top telcos who told me they expect the Indian pay-TV market to potentially generate one million IPTV customers over the next 12 months. I have to say this was perhaps the single most surprising piece of news I heard at IBC so far. But, that is the great thing about trade shows, you never know who are you are going to bump into, and what you might end up talking about.
India is already one of the fastest growing DTH markets with Tata Sky announcing recently that they had hit one million subscribers in its first year of operation. The operator is also aiming for eight million subs by 2012. India is a hugely exciting market for satellite, and also it appears for IPTV. If it does hit one million IPTV subs in the next year, it would have to make one of the top markets for IPTV anywhere in the world. The growth of pay-TV in India is a hot topic right now. It could be fun to watch. The numbers being talked about are quite staggering.
It seems every time I talk to people at the show, I am being told about a new DTH platform emerging somewhere. I am losing track!!! New DTH platforms are sprouting up in Africa, Asia and eastern Europe, in particular. It promises to be interesting to see which ones can build a profitable business.
Eastern Europe is rapidly turning into the new wild West for DTH, with some markets like Romania, having a seemingly ridiculously number of DTH platforms. As I have been having conversations, I can’t help but wonder whether we are in new phase of DTH growth where a number of operators will compete and can survive on relatively low ARPUs, or whether things will play out the way they have in western Europe, where most markets now only contain one DTH operator. It should be fun watching.
That was the message from a senior executive to a technology vendor when asked whether satellite pay-TV operators could rely on delivering services only via satellite going forward.
The implication was clear. Pay-TV operators now have to become multi-faceted when they look to deliver services. For satellite pay-TV operators, having an effective IP strategy now is a key to growth. The debate has moved on from a simple cable versus satellite versus IP, it seems. BSkyB has bought telecoms infrastructure. Others such as Canalsat in France have entered into partnerships with telcos. While the DTH players are unlikely to â€œdie,â€ it will be interesting to see whether the standalone DTH player will exist in a few years time.