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Airtel Digital TV sees strong subscriber adds in Q1, ARPU flattens

MUMBAI: Airtel Digital TV, the direct-to-home (DTH) broadcast service of Bharti Airtel, has seen strong subscription additions in the fiscal first quarter after demonetisation slowed down growth, while ARPU continues to be under pressure.

Airtel Digital TV added 499,000 net subscribers in the quarter ended 30 June 2017, up 119% from 228,000 additions in the preceding quarter. A year ago, net subscriber additions stood at 424,000.

The DTH operator’s total net subscribers stood at 13.314 million, up 3.9% from 12.815 million a quarter ago. Subscribers grew 9.6% from the prior year’s base of 12.149 million.

EBITDA

The DTH company’s operating profit grew 4.66% to Rs 330 crore in the quarter ended 30 June 2017 from Rs 315.3 crore a quarter ago. In the year ago period, EBITDA was at Rs 301.1 crore, up 9.6%. EBITDA margin improved to 36.8% as against 36% in the corresponding quarter last year.

Revenue and EBIT

Revenue grew 3.66% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) to Rs 897.4 crore. The year-on-year (YoY) growth was 7.23%.

EBIT for the quarter was at Rs 103.8 crore versus Rs 97.5 crore in the preceding quarter and Rs 121.9 crore a year ago. It thus fell 15% on a YoY basis.

ARPU an issue

Average revenue per user (ARPU) at Rs 228 was flat QoQ. It fell 2.1% on a YOY basis. ARPU for the quarter ended 30 June 2016 was Rs 233.

Churn stabilises

Monthly churn at 0.9% has stablised compared to 1.2% a quarter ago. For the quarter ended 30 June 2016, churn was at 0.8%.

Capex

For the quarter ended 30 June 2017, Airtel Digital TV incurred capital expenditure of Rs 266.1 crore compared to Rs 138.6 crore in the preceding quarter and Rs 203 crore a year ago.

Cash flow

Operating free cash flow during the quarter was at Rs 63.9 crore compared to Rs 176.7 crore in the previous quarter and Rs 98.1 crore a year ago.

Cumulative investments

Cumulative investments stood at Rs 7,225.3 crore compared to Rs 7,351.3 crore a quarter ago. For the quarter ended 30 June 2016, cumulative investments stood at Rs 6,693.6 crore. This represents an 8% YoY growth.

As on June 30 2017, Airtel Digital TV had its operations in 639 districts. The DTH platform offers both standard and high definition (HD) digital TV services with 3D capabilities and Dolby surround sound. It offers 590 channels including 67 HD channels, 5 international channels and 4 interactive services.