India DTH consolidation plans

Three major DTH operators in India’s giant pay-TV market are in talks to form a joint-venture, according to local reports.  The plan is to see content and programming costs trimmed and see increased carriage fees coming from India’s broadcasters.

The three companies are: Dish TV, Videocon d2h and Airtel Digital TV, and are in discussions to set up a JV where they will each have equal stakes, according to a source familiar with the development, and reported by local press.

“We are in talks with two other DTH companies to form a JV that will work on content and carriage agreements with broadcasters. The idea is to float a combined entity with equal stakes of the three partners,” Dish TV CEO R. C. Venkateish told TelevisionPost.com.

The three combined players, if the scheme goes ahead, would command 25 million subscribers. There are, however, concerns that the plan could fall foul of the regulators. “The current system is illogical. Despite its substantial subscriber base, DTH pays more to the broadcasters while getting negligible carriage revenue. For the MSOs, carriage revenue almost covers up their content cost to broadcasters,” said Venkatiesh.

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