DTH Vs. OTT: Which Service Rules The Entertainment Industry?
With the introduction of OTT platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hotstar during the last few years, the expansion of direct-to-home (DTH) TV subscriber base has lowered significantly. The primary reason for this is that OTT platforms give access to global content, along with domestic content much faster compared to DTH services.
Moreover, if chosen right, OTT platforms can be more affordable than DTH connections as well. However, DTH comes with its own set of perks. The biggest question is; which service is more preferred by consumers and will replace the other in the near future? In this article, we’ve compared DTH and OTT services to get a better understanding on which service is better.
An Introduction To Satellite Direct-to-Home (DTH)
Satellite Direct-to-Home delivers video using radio waves acquired via a satellite dish, which is often installed on top of your apartment.
Satellite Direct-to-Home allows broadcasters to transmit their channels to the viewer's television set. This eliminates the requirement for viewers to get a different cable connection to watch the Television networks.
For broadcasters, the most significant advantage of satellite television is its unrivaled reach. Regardless of a nation's infrastructure, broadcasters can connect to all viewers from even the most distant locations and provide a genuinely countrywide service.
Another critical factor for broadcasters is affordability. Although the cost of certain network transmission increases with the number of subscribers, the cost of satellite transmission remains constant regardless of how many viewers you target.
While this expenditure may appear to be a drawback at first, broadcasters have direct access to a huge number of households, making it an incredibly efficient point-to-multipoint networking option.
Another issue that broadcasters may confront is the development of DTH technology, despite the fact that DTH viewership is increasing in every area and that it can deliver any codec, even 4k.
Furthermore, the bandwidth availability of satellites allows broadcasters to transmit an unlimited number of channels in high quality, unlike other distribution alternatives, which have a restriction on the total number of channels that can be provided.
The higher quality of content is one of the benefits for DTH subscribers, as the signal is not divided by a cable and there is no cable company that collates and limits channel choice. It may also be more cost-effective for users who simply wish to access free-to-air TV channels, since there are no ongoing monthly expenses other than the upfront equipment expenditure.
The DTH cost is divided into two; the set-top box and the monthly charges, which varies depending on the DTH provider you choose. For example, the DishNXT HD set-top box costs Rs 1,590, while Tata Sky's HD Digital set-top devices cost extra, ranging at Rs 1,699.
Airtel TV's HD box, which even contains a one-month bundle of 150 channels, is now available in Delhi/NCR priced at Rs 769, although this doesn't include the NCF (Network Capacity Fee), installations, or activation fees.
DishTV's Titanium HD bundle, which includes 285 channels, is valued at Rs 617 for DTH providers. It covers the majority of the channels like Star Network, Zee, and Viacom18. With NCF, GST, and other fees, the cost will be roughly Rs 729, and much lower for SD quality channels (about Rs 536).
Airtel Digital TV as well as Tata Sky's monthly HD package, which includes channels mostly from major broadcasters including Star, Zee, Viacom18, Sony, and others, would cost roughly Rs 800, which is in the same price range as DishTV.
Tata Sky also offers its Binge subscription, which costs Rs 249 per month and allows consumers access to digital entertainment from several applications like Amazon Prime, Hotstar, Sun Nxt, Eros Now, and Hungama Play. This is just for individuals who also have a Tata Sky subscription.
This service includes a free Amazon FireTV stick. Additional benefit is access to Tata Sky's VOD collection, which has over 5,000 programmes and movies, and also the option to view Television programs from the previous seven days.
Binge is a good offer at roughly Rs 332 a month (with Amazon Prime's Rs 999 annually bundled), but you'll still have to spend for your normal Tata Sky connection. Including Zee5, Netflix, Sony Liv, and Voot in the package would cost you Rs 1,106. The cost would be Rs 456 without a Netflix HD standard membership, making it one of the better choices to choose.
An Introduction To Over-the-Top (OTT)
The term "over-the-top" (OTT) refers to video distribution via the public internet. This is basically offered over a high-speed internet connection instead of a satellite or cable company. Popular OTT platforms include Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ Hotstar, and HBO Now.
OTT entertainment can be directly accessed on a desktop, but it is most commonly seen on a web-enabled TV or via an internet-enabled device attached to a traditional television, like a Roku or Apple TV.
The key benefits of OTT are its low price range for consumers and its on-demand service. But, for broadcasters, the pay-per-user approach ultimately hits a turning point as CDN costs climb in tandem with viewership growth. This is in contrast to DTH services, where expenses do not rise as viewership grows. As a result, at some point, OTT streaming becomes more costly than satellite.
Aside from the above, OTT makes no promises that broadcaster content will be accessed by consumers in the first place. When streaming live events, competition is high, limited bandwidth accessibility impacts content quality, and latency creates time delays. Similarly, in order to receive the broadcast, customers must have a decent broadband connection, which is not always readily available.
Each OTT platform subscription comes at a monthly or yearly cost. For example, Amazon Prime and Hotstar both cost Rs 999 per year and are excellent value for money if you would like access to additional content.
Disney+ Hotstar provides customers with access to Star networks as well as movies, programs, news from ABP News, Aaj Tak, and HBO series, among other things. Amazon Prime subscription also includes perks like one-day delivery, special offers to Amazon discounts, and combined Amazon Music.
Netflix is one of the most costly streaming services in India, with plans beginning at Rs 500 per month and going up to Rs 650 for HD. Netflix's most costly package is Rs 800, but it also enables UHD quality or 4K streaming. Netflix, on the other hand, may be disregarded if the emphasis is on localized content and access to TV stations.
SonyLiv, which contains Sony Networks programs, costs Rs 499 annually. Users would get access to programs from Set and Sab, and also regional networks, movies, and other content. Voot is a free video-on-demand service that provides subscription to Viacom 18 channels like Colors Infinity, MTV, and News18, among others. It may be viewed by signing in with a Facebook or Google account. Zee5 will have ZeeTV episodes and its all-access subscription would cost Rs 999 annually.
If you add up the membership fees for these streaming platforms, it comes to Rs 3,496 annually, or about Rs 291 monthly excluding Netflix. With a Netflix HD membership included, the monthly cost is approximately Rs 941.
In addition to the subscriptions, if you want to watch channels from across all major broadcasters, such as Star Network, Viacom 18, Zee, and others, purchasing a Google Chromecast or Amazon FireTV Stick is a fantastic choice. The newest Chromecast will probably cost Rs 3,000, whereas the FireTV Stick with Alexa voice control will cost approximately Rs 4,000.
Chromecast and FireTV Stick require a TV with only an HDMI socket that provides Wi-Fi. However, just like the DTH set-top device, this is also a one-time expenditure.
DTH VS OTT: The Similarities
While the differences are evident, considering both DTH and OTT services go above and beyond regular cable TV services, there are a few similarities between both. Some of which are listed below:
- The transmissions are digital in nature and are acquired from the satellite immediately
- DTH and OTT are fundamentally different in terms of content and environment. DTH connections are more communal in nature, whereas OTT services are more intimate, but they both focus on providing customer-centric content
- They also compliment one another, OTT platforms are included in the content accessible on DTH connections
Why Are DTH Subscribers Decreasing?
While there might be other factors, the proliferation of (Over the Top) OTT services has had a negative impact on DTH membership levels. In the light of severe competition in the area, OTT network operators are providing users with both appealing content and subscription plans. Nevertheless, the government is currently debating whether or not to regulate OTT sites.
According to a recent poll, over 55% of Indians choose OTT services over DTH services, and approximately 87% of Indians now view videos on their mobile devices.
Can OTT Platforms Completely Replace DTH Service Providers?
When it comes to the conflict or rivalry between DTH and OTT, we should understand that there are indeed technologies that enable the same content to be consumed in various ways. It is only natural for the user to have the choice of selecting which of these platforms is best for them.
The market takeover of DTH by OTT is determined by a number of variables. One critical reason is the OTT services' dependency on internet connections, which are still unevenly distributed and inaccessible to more than 50% of India.
Because almost two-thirds of the Indian populace does not actively utilize the Internet, the options for OTT are quite restricted. As a result, the notion of OTT without a DTH or cable connection is still out of date.
Even DTH has not entirely abolished the cable connection because there are still substantial active cable competitors in the market who have expanded their service across the country. As a result, they cannot be termed outdated; rather, they are recovering market share.
India's OTT Platform Future
So, if DTH is gaining traction again, will OTT platforms lose their market share? Probably not. It’s more likely that the distribution of OTT platforms will expand. Internet access is growing on a daily basis, and with the support of Digital India and Broadband projects, it is reaching out to rural places.
The simplicity of gathering information and, more importantly, trust in the phone signal that the foundation of OTT will expand further.
It is a matter of convenience, and quality is improving as more young people use OTT platforms. The majority of its customers are Indian millennials, and India's online video demand is comparable to that of the United Kingdom.
As per the KPMG estimate, India would have much more than 500 million OTT customers by 2023.
Online streaming speed has improved over time, and it will continue to increase over time as a result of initiatives such as Digital India.
So, while there’s no doubt that OTT platforms are constantly on the rise, India’s vast population also has space for a large number of DTH subscribers as well. Eventually, one might overtake the other, but, for now both services are maintaining their position in the Indian market.