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Sun TV Network focusing on achieving pre-NTO viewership in every single market

The DTH operator is also witnessing higher churn from Arasu Cable.

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MUMBAI: While new tariff order (NTO) had brought down viewership of several pay channels initially across the country, Sun TV Network channels are bouncing back from the initial effect in key markets. As the channels are coming close to the pre-NTO regime viewership, the largest broadcaster is now focusing on every single market to get back to the reach percentage it was providing prior to the NTO implementation.

“We are making all efforts in terms of ensuring that the channels are carried by all DTH and cable operators and it is placed in the appropriate MCM so it is accessible to a majority of the subscriber universe. So, that is why you are also seeing a good improvement in the rating numbers,” Sun TV Network CEO R Mahesh Kumar commented in an earnings call after its Q1 results.

Kumar also added while inquired about a-la-carte adoption that very few subscribers have opted for a-la-carte. He noted that the majority of service providers and the customers have opted for the entire bouquet of channels. Notably, many broadcasters and DPOs have highlighted this trend of subscribers going for bundled packages after NTO implementation rather than selecting individual channels.

While the group also has a large DTH business, Kumar is optimistic about the growth rate of DTH. He added that he witnessed a huge growth in private MSOs in the marketplace at a time when churn is happening from state-run Arasu Cable to other operators. Moreover, there is a significant portion of analogue which is also incrementally getting digitised.

“In our estimate, upwards of 35 per cent is still analogue in this market. And in terms of seeding of STBs, it's being pushed both by private cable operators and DTH. Like even our own group company, Sun Direct has been extremely well in Tamil Nadu. Their numbers have grown from an average of 1,000, 2,000 to 5,000, and 6,000 a day,” Sun TV Network group CFO SL Narayanan commented.

He also added that everything is happening across the system in Tamil Nadu based on NTO only. According to him, the only issue has been the difficulty of getting the reports from some of the smaller players because of their own inability to have new programs. He added that it's only a transitional phase and there would be lesser problems once things get streamlined and good software is available. While he added that most of them are adapting it also, the reporting levels have increased considerably in June or July.

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