The direct-to-home (DTH) operators are set to capture 72 per cent of the 25 million new subscribers in the next three years through intense competition between the cable and DTH firms, says the latest report from international media research firm Media Partners Asia (MPA).These new consumers will have access to digital pay television service, either DTH or cable, the report adds. Currently, there are about 80 million cable homes in the country with most subscribers receiving analogue cable transmission with poor video and audio quality. By 2010, the digital subscribers are likely to corner nearly 25 per cent of the overall cable market, up nearly three times from the existing 8 per cent.According to the report, of the 25 million new subscribers added till December 2010, there will be about 18 million DTH subscribers, up nearly three times from 6.3 million subscribers in the current month, while a total of 7.2 million digital cable subscribers will be added by the cable firms, a six-fold increase from the existing 1.2 million.The report is also significant because it shows the intensifying competition in the DTH space specially after the commercial launch of of Big TV, the DTH service of the Reliance ADA group. While Big TV is looking at capturing 40 per cent of the new DTH subscribers that are likely to be added in the next 12-18 months, Dish TV, currently the largest DTH firm, is expecting to add another 2 million-plus subscribers till March 2009 to take its tally in excess of 5 million. Currently, there are four private DTH operators in the market and two more waiting to launch their services by the year-end.Experts say digitalisation of cable services, either through DTH or digital cable service will help in increasing the average revenue per user (ARPU) because digital subscribers are accounted for by the subscriber management services of both DTH and the cable companies.Currently, while the cable ARPU are hovering around Rs 160 per month, its about Rs 170-180 for the DTH firms. “With more digital subscribers joining in, the ARPU of both cable and DTH firms is bound to increase by 25-30 per cent in the next three years,” says an expert.