With a population of more than 1 billion people, India is one of the world’s biggest and most dynamic broadcast markets. The country continues to expand the size of its potential DTH subscriber base, and for broadcasters this is good news, as pay-TV subscribers are hungry for more content.
Operators such as DishTV, Tata Sky, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications have all seen phenomenal growth as the demand for pay-TV services has increased exponentially in the last few years. DishTV, the market’s leading DTH operator, launched HD services in 2010 and passed the 10 million subscriber mark last year. Tata Sky also launched HD services in 2010.
While the DTH market has been dominated by low-cost offerings, operators have been working on developing their HD offerings to the market. With such competition, the demand for better channels has put the onus on broadcasters to deliver more channels to platforms. A broadcaster such as Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEE), will play a key role as India’s pay-TV market continues to grow. As customers have new demands for how they access content, this will also bring new challenges to broadcasters such as ZEE.
The insatiable appetite of these subscribers for more pay-TV content has been good news for regional broadcasters. Punit Goenka, CEO, Zee Entertainment Enterprises, shares his perspective of the regional market environment as the leader of one of India’s largest broadcasters.
VIA SATELLITE: What are the main challenges facing ZEE during the next 12 months?
Goenka: There are a number of challenges and opportunities for Zee during the next 12 months, largely due to the digitization process that is going on right now. In the next 12 months, you will see two phases of digitization being activated. The first phase, which will start on July 1, will have four metropolitan areas moved to the mandatory digital addressable system. This will cover roughly 10 million digital homes. We forecast that 3 million homes have already converted to DTH and cable. There are another 7 million homes that need to be converted by July. The second phase, which will start on Jan. 1, 2013, will have another 38 cities, each with a population of more than one million people, which will be added to the digital addressable system. This is a challenge because the industry needs to convert broadcasts by these dates. Given the reception available, I think the first phase may not be completed until August or September.