Dish TV narrows Q3 net loss to Rs 3.6 cr; 1.3 million subs opt for a-la-carte offering

MUMBAI: Direct to home (DTH) operator Dish TV has narrowed its net loss by 80% to Rs 3.6 crore for the quarter ended 31 December as against Rs 17.9 crore in the trailing quarter ended 30 September.

The company said that higher selling and distribution expenses around festivals led to a temporary impact on EBITDA, which was down 7.21% at Rs 200.5 crore as against Rs 216.1 crore a quarter ago. EBITDA margin was at 27.1% compared to 28.9%.

Subscription revenue fell 1.71% to Rs 692.8 crore compared to Rs 704.9 crore. Operating revenue was flat at Rs 740.8 crore compared to Rs 748.6 crore. Expenditure was up 1.44%at Rs 540.2 crore compared to Rs 532.5 crore.

The DTH operator added 2.5 lakh net subscribers during the quarter compared to 1.88 lakh a quarter ago. Its losing net subscriber base was at 16.1 million.

Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) was lower at Rs. 144 compared to Rs. 149 in the previous quarter as the rural market was yet to fully recover.’

The company said that the government’s emphasis on increasing rural income and productivity in budget 2018 will go a long way in increasing the spending capacity of the vast rural population of the country.

With more than 75% of its subscriber base coming from non-urban towns and cities, Dish TV expects to be a direct beneficiary of the expected rural buoyancy.

Dish TV India CMD Jawahar Goel said, “One year down the line from demonetisation, we have come a long way but somehow the sting in the rural consumption is still missing. This was probably well recognised by the government and hence the impetus towards a stronger rural India.”

Dish TV said that ala-carte scheme called ‘Mera Apna Pack (MAP)’ has worked well by extracting incremental revenue from bottom-end customers. A total of 1.3 million subscribers on Dish TV’s platform have so far opted for paid a-la-carte offerings.

The MAP has helped the DTH operator to gather insights into the content choice of subscribers. The DTH operator said that the data gathered so far suggests that popular GEC and movie channels actually have a very limited consumer pull while some niche channels actually have a higher preference.

It claimed that channels like Sony Entertainment Television (SET), Sony SAB and Sony Max which have been picked up only by around 1.25-2.3% of the total ‘MAP’ viewers.

Dish TV also said that the ‘HD for All’ scheme continues to be instrumental in converting Standard Definition (SD) subscribers to High Definition (HD).

Continuing with its series of Value Added Services (VAS), Dish TV recently added ‘Astrology’ Active Service channel on its platform. The company now provides more than 13 Value Added services to its subscribers and looks forward to build further on them.