India: DTH players pay record fees

India’s DTH operators paid Rs346 million (US$7 million) in licence fees for 2008, up from just Rs20 million in 2004.

The DTH licence fee is currently 10% of each operator’s gross annual revenues, although the government is considering lowering the fee to 6%, it was revealed last week.

Dish TV, as the leading operator paid the most, at Rs147 million. Tata Sky paid Rs131 million, Sun Direct Rs66 million and Big TV just under Rs2 million.

Last week, the information and broadcasting secretary, Sushma Singh, told a local conference that a reduction in the fee from 10% to 6% was on the cards. The DTH operators have been lobbying for a reduction with costs spiralling as each seeks to have a competitive advantage over rivals.