The growth of the internet in India will trouble the country's direct-to-home (DTH) sector. Already, because of the rapid growth of OTT (over-the-top) content, the number of DTH subscribers in India has been on a decline for the last several quarters. There are just four major DTH operators in India, and all of them have realised by now that they can't fight the growth of OTT. Instead of fighting OTT, the DTH players are looking to make it a part of their business by offering aggregated OTT services.
As soon as high-speed broadband or internet reaches more parts of the nation, the growth of the DTH sector would likely be impacted. Currently, in rural areas where there is no accessibility to high broadband speeds, consumers rely on satellite TV content for entertainment. But once the internet reaches such places, users would start shifting to affordable OTT platforms. In fact, the more users buy new generation Smart TVs, the more of them will be able to access OTT platforms directly without the need for external products or gadgets.
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The Indian government already has ambitious plans for the internet and the digital economy. Telecom operators in the country have already started rolling out 5G, and with 5G, consumers can easily watch content in high resolution directly on their TVs or smartphones without any buffering issues. Internet service providers (ISPs) are also working on expanding their fibre infrastructure so more homes and offices can access fixed-line internet services in the near future.
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That said, the DTH sector is not going to go away like this. As mentioned, the DTH companies have already started integrating OTT content and OTT platforms in their services. In addition to this, OTT content is mostly consumed on an individual basis, while the content on DTH is mostly consumed by families together. This is one key difference in the consumption pattern of the content between OTT platforms and DTH companies.
One more thing that DTH companies need to take care of is the cost of services. Because of the NTO 3.0, the cost of DTH bills is going to go up for consumers. While it won't be a big or drastic change, at the end of the day, if the DTH services keep becoming expensive, the OTT platforms will take over the DTH sector in a complete manner.
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Right now, the digital infrastructure is also not completely developed and expanded throughout India. Once that happens, more users are likely going to access OTT content platforms for entertainment needs. This is because OTT platforms bring a variety of content for users at a very reasonable cost.