A remarkable 22.4% jump in subscriber growth forIndia’s direct-to-home (DTH) satellite TV offerings has been recorded for the last three months of 2010.

According to the latest figures from the broadcast industry’s regulator, a total of 32.05 million people inIndiareceived pay-TV services from the nation’s six private DTH providers by 31 December 2010, up from 26.4 million at the end of October 2010, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has revealed.

This compares to a base of 23.77 million who had taken out DTH subscriptions inIndiaby 30 June 2010.

The figures relate to customers of Dish TV, Tata Sky, Sun Direct, Airtel Digital TV, Reliance Digital TV and Videocon d2h. Viewers of state broadcaster Doordarshan’s DTH service are not included in the TRAI survey.

The figures also showIndiahad 155 pay TV channels out of a total of 604 registered channels at the end of last year. A total of 786,422 set top boxes had been installed in areas where conditional access systems have been mandated by the regulator, according to the new TRAI figures. This is up from 770,519 at the end of June.

The growth ofIndia’s love affair with pay TV over satellite is not yet showing signs of abating. One ofIndia’s DTH operators, Airtel Digital, recently announced that it had added 3.07 million subscriptions alone so far in 2011.

Indeed, consultants RNCOS anticipate the DTH subscriber base in India will reach about 69 million by 2014, registering an annual compound growth rate (CAGR) of about 23% between 2011 and 2014.

Although these figures are impressive, the Indian DTH industry continues to face major challenges, such as low returns on average revenue per user (ARPU), the expense of acquiring both content and new subscribers – given set top box subsidies – and high taxation.