English Pay TV Channels are expecting a drop of 25 to 30% in their revenues post New Tariff Order (NTO) implemented by The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI). English language channels on TV have been struggling to gather any momentum over the past couple of years. Only the channels that are available in Distribution Platform Operator (DPO) packs are likely to find decent pick-up.
Emergence of over the top (OTT) platforms offering english content has been one of the key factors in the dipping popularity of English TV channels. English TV Channel watching audience is relatively smaller in India, the widespread availability of English (Entertainment and Movie) content on OTT platforms, that offer a personalised, convenient, appointment-free viewing experience, has been one of the key factors for a shift in consumption from TV to digital for English content.
This further pushes these the TV Viewers to move away from TV based subscription/viewing to consumption on OTT platforms for English content. As a result of the prevailing conditions, in times to come English TV channels will need to be creative in positioning themselves and experiment with different business models in order to sustain and thrive as TV channels.
Strong Growth of Regional Television Channels
The regional language viewership on TV continued to see strong growth in 2018 supported by new channel launches and live sports streaming in local languages. The general entertainment channels continued to remain the most preferred choice for regional viewers. While 43% of the total GEC viewership in 2018 came from Hindi, the four south language markets together matched up to Hindi with the average consumption per day for these languages at nearly 2.5 hours a day, much higher than that of Hindi which was about 1.7 hours a day.
While viewership in the southern market grew at a steady 7%, regional viewership growth in 2018 was driven by Bhojpuri (38%), Odia (36%), Assamese (31%) and Marathi (26%).
Regional viewership benefitted significantly from sports consumption in local languages with nearly 366 million people viewing sports content in regional languages in 2018.
In addition to the availability of sports programming in multiple regional language feeds for the first time, the industry also witnessed multiple regional channel launches during the year.
Broadcasters continue to believe strongly in the regional growth story and have announced plans to launch new entertainment, movie and sports channels for the regional markets in 2020. As the south markets mature, this growth is expected to come from the relatively under-indexed languages like Marathi, Bangla, Odia and Gujarati.