Free to air (FTA) channels have clicked instant success due to their ‘free’ factor. The fact that the channels are free of cost has helped them to reach the deepest corners of the country. It has given FTA a huge benefit over the pay channels. Free Dish was another blessing in disguise. Since hopping onto this distribution platform was easier than before, the broadcasters grabbed it too quickly.
By entering Free Dish, television broadcasters can acquire greater penetration, mainly focusing on the rural parts of India. According to a survey by Chrome Data Analytics and Media, there is less than 40 per cent of TV penetration in 54 million Hindi-speaking markets (HSM), out of which 23 million HSM (42 per cent market share) has been captured by Free Dish.
Among other findings, Chrome DM states that Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu Kashmir are the top states in terms of Free Dish penetration. These states are also the key viewership markets in HSM.
Since advertising revenue of FTA channels is growing at a much faster pace, broadcasters are gradually turning their paid channels to FTA, leveraging the opportunity. All leading players like Star, Sony, Zee, Viacom and others have started focusing towards Rural HSM with existence on Free Dish.
The number of FTA channels increased in the rural HSM from 74 in 2015 to 114 in 2016 and 142 in 2017.
Identifying the potential of the rural market, Pankaj Krishna, CEO and Founder, Chrome DM said, “Nearly 70 per cent of the country’s population lives in rural areas. Within the rural TV owning universe, the inclusion of free dish can lead to a significant increase in subscriber base for broadcasters.”