Bharti Airtel's DTH (Direct-to-Home) business under the brand Airtel Digital TV saw decent growth in Q3 FY23. The telco added 214k users to its DTH subscriber base in Q3 compared to 66k in the previous quarter. Airtel's DTH base grew when the entire DTH industry is facing a downward trend in subscriber addition. The growth of OTT (over-the-top) platforms in India since the pandemic has hurt the business of DTH companies a lot.
Airtel's CEO, Gopal Vittal, during the recent earnings call with the analysts for Q3 FY23 results, said that because of simplifying the tariffs and bundling of OTT with linear TV, Airtel's DTH business saw growth in the number of subscribers. Airtel Xstream is Airtel's in-house OTT aggregation platform. For Rs 149 per month, you can access Airtel Xstream Premium subscription, through which, with just a single login, you can gain access to content from several major OTT platforms.
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Vittal said, "DTH net-adds were at 214k and this was up from 66k last quarter. So, after a long time, we have seen some growth in the DTH. This is really happening because of a very simple strategy that we have introduced. Number-one is we have dramatically simplified our tariff plans. So, now eight tariff plans across the country, with different bundles, and the second is the strategy of convergence, which is very unique to Airtel, with the power of Airtel Black where we are bundling with both linear as well as OTT content into our broadband offer."
Airtel Black is Driving Growth for Airtel Digital TV
Airtel Black is a bundled service from Airtel under which users get access to all the major services from Airtel, including DTH, broadband and mobile postpaid. Because of Airtel Black, Vittal said that they can now offer customers the experience of watching both linear TV and OTT content. Since broadband is also included in the Airtel Black connection, users can watch OTT content without any worries with a high-speed internet connection from Airtel Xstream Fiber.\
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However, Airtel is not calling the growth in the DTH subscriber base a victory yet. The telco recognises that there is a lot that is still left to be done in the DTH space.
Vittal added, "This you must know is in an industry that continues to be under serious pressure and clearly there is more to be done on DTH. We
are not calling any victory yet, but these are just very early green shoots."
You can buy a new Airtel DTH connection with a Smart Set-Top Box (STB) called Xstream Box, or you can also get it under the Airtel Black service.