The study, titled Digital TV World Household Forecasts, claims India is expected to overtake the US in 2017 in terms of digital TV penetration while China will have the most pay TV subscriptions, at 315 million, by end-2017. India will follow China with pay TV subscribers, touching 145 million. The global digital penetration will climb from 48.6 per cent at end-2011 to 86.7 per cent by 2017.
Indian media experts say the digital revolution in the country will be usheredin by the mandatory digitisation of analogue TV broadcast, for which the I & B Ministry has set a deadline of November1, 2012. The first phase of the digitisation process will cover the four metros– Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai –and eventually will move to smaller towns and cities across the country.
It is estimated that India already has 127 million C & S television homes, of which 32 million are DTH, 7 million digital cable and the remaining 88 million analogue cable homes.
Most DTH and digital cable companies are already ramping up for the switchover. Hathway Cable and Datacom Ltd,for instance, has decided to procure an additional 10 lakh set top boxes (in addition to the previously planned 20-lakh deployment) to meet the growing demand for digital cable.
Over the next four months, Hathway plans to scale up availability of STBs in line with the I &B Ministry’s November 1, 2012 deadline for the switch over to digital cable TV.
K Jayaraman, MD and CEO of Hathway Cable and Datacom Ltd, says, “We have been preparing to bring consumers a seamless move from analogue to digital cable TV. We plan to deploy 30 lakh digital STBs across the two metro cities of Mumbai and Delhi.”
According to Jayaraman, “The rush for digital services will peak around the last fortnight of October, 2012 and we do not want to disappoint consumers and drive them towards the costlier option of DTH.”
Both DTH and the digital cable companies are looking forward to digitisation. An official from Videocon d2h points out,“Digitisation is set to create a win-win situation for the government, subscribers and broadcasters. The government will also be able to collect taxes with the advent of STBs.”