New Delhi: Direct-to-Home operator TataSky will add 20 new channels shortly as it has introduced a new compression technology to its network, a move that has disrupted services to nearly 17,000 subscribers in the past couple of days.

The company, which offers over 300 channels, would add the channels despite capacity constraints on account of improved compression standards and shifting to upgraded MPEG 4 format. “Last year we have added 80 channels and we would shortly add 20 more. Some of them would be HD channels,” TataSky CEO Harit Nagpal told PTI.

He further said: “We have also got additional capacity due to our timely decision to shift from MPEG 2 format to MPEG 4 format. It cost us money, but helped us.” TataSky, a JV between Tata group and media major Star has over 10 million active connections and around 3/4 connections are on MPEG 4.

The DTH operator, which has recently gone for a tariff hike is expecting the industry to add 4 million customers every year due to digistisation programme.

“The industry would grow for the next 5-6 years. There is enough opportunity here as the digitisation of analogue delivery system of home cable TV is in progress,” Nagpal said, adding that still 80 million connection are to be converted into digital mode.

On the tariff hike, he said: “Every year, we go for a price hike which is roughly 4 per cent in March. Last year, it was Rs 230 and this year we have increased it to Rs 240. The company has an average revenue per user (ARPU) of Rs 250 and having a growth of over 5 per cent on year-on-year basis.

“We would like to keep our ARPU constant and grow our base by adding more customers from small places,” he said. Nagpal said TataSky is sorting out the problems faced by its subscribers where their signals were disrupted due to introduction of the new compression technology.

“We change the compression standards every 3-4 months and a handful of customers are got impacted. Yesterday about 17,000 out of one crore-plus base have experienced problems and we have send our engineers at their place to resolve the issue,” he added.