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Airtel Digital TV adds 270,000 subs, Q3 EBITDA at Rs 171 crore

MUMBAI: Airtel Digital TV has added 270,000 new subscribers in the fiscal third quarter compared to 151,000 in the preceding quarter. In the year-ago quarter, the DTH operator had added 235,000 net subscribers.

Airtel Digital TV’s total net subscriber base now stands at 9.81 million.

The DTH company’s EBITDA for the quarter ended 31 December grew 11.64 per cent to Rs 170.7 crore (Rs 1.71 billion), compared to Rs 152.9 crore (Rs 1.53 billion) in the trailing quarter. In the year-ago period, EBITDA was at Rs 97.2 crore (Rs 972 million).

EBIDTA margin also improved to 27.4 per cent in the quarter, compared to a margin of 24.4 per cent in the preceding quarter and 18.1 per cent in the year-ago period.

However, Airtel Digital TV’s total revenue saw a marginal (0.5 per cent) decline sequentially. Total revenue was Rs 623.4 crore (Rs 6.23 billion) compared to Rs 626.3 crore (Rs 6.26 billion) in the trailing quarter. In the year-ago period, revenue stood at Rs 538.4 crore (Rs 5.38 billion).

After witnessing a continuous quarter-on-quarter growth, Airtel Digital TV has seen a 3 per cent decline in its average revenue per user (ARPU) for the quarter ended 31 December 2014.

The DTH player’s ARPU fell to Rs 214 in the fiscal third quarter compared to Rs 220 in the preceding quarter. In the year-ago period, the ARPU stood at Rs 207.

This is despite a steady surge in subscriber numbers. Its churn, however, has remained at 1 per cent per month (1.1 per cent in the previous quarter).

Digital TV services revenue accounted for 4 per cent of Bharti Airtel’s total revenues, while EBITDA contribution stood at 3 per cent.

During the quarter, Airtel Digital TV incurred a capital expenditure of Rs 163 crore (Rs 1.63 billion). Operating free cash flow during the quarter, at Rs 7.7 crore (Rs 77 million), has significantly improved, compared to cash burn of Rs 72.6 crore (Rs 726 million) in Q2 FY15, or Rs 13.7 crore (Rs 137 million) in the corresponding quarter last year.

The company said that from this quarter it has started harmonising the accounting of indirect taxes in line with other segments and industry standards. Such taxes were part of opex earlier and are now netted off against revenues.

Cumulative investment in the DTH business by the company has touched Rs 5,294.8 crore (Rs 52.95 billion) as of 31 December 2014.

Airtel Digital TV offers 456 channels including 25 HD channels and three interactive services across 639 districts in India.

During the quarter, Airtel Digital TV launched a self-care app and a Wi-Fi dongle for its HD customers.