Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews | 07-09-2011

India will have 48 million direct to home (DTH) satellite TV homes by 2015, thanks in part to the rapid expansion in DTH subscriptions in rural areas, according to a new report from the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham).

Digital cable TV subscriptions are also predicted to soar, reaching 38 million by 2015 compared with nine million in 2010.

As of the end of last year, there were 38 million digital homes in India, with a DTH level of 28 million, cable and one million viewers receiving internet protocol television (IPTV), according to Assocham.

In total, television penetration in India was put at 223 million in 2010 by TAM Media Research, a figure likely to expand to 231 million by the end of 2011.

“From the black and white television broadcasting on a single national channel [state broadcaster Doordarshan] in 1980s to almost 600 channels beaming, with almost one-third operating in the general entertainment space, the Indian TV industry has truly come a long way,” said Assocham.

The new study estimates the TV industry will earn revenues of INR 320 billion in 2011, showing 14% year on year growth from 2010. Pay-TV subscription revenues of INR 175.5 billion accounted for 63% of the total revenue, with 33% (or INR 94.5 billion) provided by advertising.

Meanwhile, India’s TV content business constituted about four per cent to the total market at INR 11.7 billion, according to Assocham.

Regional entertainment channels outnumber national ones by four times, with Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada, Bengali, Marathi and Gujarati leading the pack. National broadcasters have increased their presence in regional markets, says the report, while regional networks are increasing their penetration via niche channels.

The report also points to India’s 150 news channels, with English language ones commanding the highest advertising rates due to their appeal among the urban male audience.

With the increase of digital media distribution platforms and intense competition in each genre, Assocham warns: “Content creators and broadcasters need to be cognizant of the ever increasing demand for differentiated content.