The Indian government has ordered a special audit of DTH (Direct-to-Home) operators in India, including Airtel Digital TV, Tata Play, Dish TV and Sun Direct. The audit is over the long-running dispute over the license fees. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India have been ordered by the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for an intensive audit of all the DTH service providers in the country. The audit will span back to the year of inception or grant of license by the government. As per ET, the move is over the suspected discrepancies in the revenue calculation by the DTH service providers.
The I&B wants the audit to check whether the amount submitted to the central government by the DTH operators as their license fees is correctly assessed and collected.
In May, DTH operators sought a license fee waiver because of their declining subscriber base over the years. Factors such as the advent of streaming services have impacted the business of the DTH service providers negatively. Between 2003 and 2007, the central government issued six DTH licenses, while there are only four operators in service right now - Tata Play, Dish TV, Airtel Digital TV, and Sun Direct.
There's also DD Free Dish, but that is a government-run entity. As a part of their revenues, to keep the license, the DTH service providers need to pay license fees to the centre. The license fee is set at 8% of the annual gross revenues. But among government officials, there are concerns that the revenues that the DTH operators are reporting have been dropping and aren't along the expected levels.