Independent TV has been in the news for more than six months now. The DTH operator first showed signs of struggle back in June 2019 when it faced issues with the satellite provider Antrix Corporation. At last, Trai has confirmed that Independent TV has closed operations in the country which brings down the total pay DTH operators count to four- Tata Sky, Dish TV, Airtel Digital TV and Sun Direct. In the latest performance indicator report during July-September 2019 period, Trai highlighted the reduction in subscriber base was due to closure of DTH operations by Independent TV. A lot of Independent TV customers have been complaining about the lack of services since June last year, and finally, there's an update coming directly from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai).
What Went Wrong With Independent TV?
The downfall of Independent TV started back in June 2019 when Antrix Corporation stopped providing satellite signals to the DTH operator. The major reason behind the signal disconnection was unpaid dues. In July 2019, the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) asked Independent TV to clear Rs 12 crore dues of Antrix Corporation with immediate effect. However, Independent TV failed to clear the dues. Later in the same month, Trai intervened and asked the DTH operator on when it's planning to resume services.
Again, a new deadline was provided by Independent TV for clearing dues of Antrix Corporation. The DTH operator made a lot of noise in August 2019 saying the services will be restored any day after August 21, 2019. However, that did not happen either. In September 2019, Independent TV filed a new application in front of TDSAT asking to modify the order issued back in July. Since then, we did not hear anything from the operator.
Trai released its performance indicator report yesterday in which it clearly stated that Independent TV has closed the operations. "The marginal reduction in the subscriber base as compared to previous quarters (up to March 2019) may be due to closure of DTH Services by M/s Independent TV Limited and also now the number of days for which inactive subscribers were taken into consideration is 90 days as compared to 120 days taken for previous quarters up to March 2019," mentioned Trai in the report.
Furthermore, Independent TV's website is also up for sale, which clearly states the company may never resume services again. Just a few days ago, we reported the status of Independent TV; Back then, the website of the company was functional.
Right now, there's no update from Independent TV on the closure of services. Trai may soon interfere and ask the DTH operator to provide refund to customers who chose long-term channel packs.
Total Pay DTH Operator Count Comes to 4 in India
With the closure of Independent TV, the total pay DTH operators in India will be just four. And they are Tata Sky, Dish TV, Airtel Digital TV and Sun Direct. There are several local Cable TV operators in the country and the subscriber base of Cable TV is way higher than that of DTH.
Right now, Tata Sky is the leading operator in the country with Dish TV capturing the second position. Airtel Digital TV and Sun Direct are third and fourth on the list with less 25% market share. It's already in the news that Airtel Digital TV and Tata Sky are looking to merge their operations which will result in just three pay DTH operators in India.