DTH players blame that this is due to the new tariff order implemented by the regulator from April 1. An increase in cable bills have started to have an impact on the direct-to-home market with DTH operators witnessing an unprecedented 25 per cent fall in subscribers in the April-June quarter.
Experts say that the number highlights the challenges faced by DTH operators during the transition to the new tariff regime wherein consumers were to pay only for what they watched. The transition came with confusion, ill-trained customer support staff and forced ‘best fit packages’ from most of the players, leading to opposite results than initially intended.
Also the rise of OTT services s impacted the subscriber numbers as these platforms allowed consumers to watch TV shows for free, albeit with a few hours of delay in a move to pull more consumers towards their platforms. The paid versions of these apps also were charging a fraction of the average bill consumers were paying for their DTH subscription.
Different reports such as those from CRISIL and CARE Ratings showed that post the implementation of the tariff order, instead of seeing a cut down on cable bills, most consumers reported, on an average, about 25 per cent increase in their bills.
It is a cord cutting generation. With the increased monthly DTH bills, consumers are just not renewing their monthly DTH packages. High-speed and low-cost mobile Internet has further fuelled this by shifting consumption to mobile devices.
An expert said: “With Netflix and Amazon and Hotstar, consumption has moved to mobile devices. Netflix launching its mobile-only plans just for the Indian market is the testament to this fact. With cheaper data and 4G speeds, people’s consumption is shifting towards mobile devices.”