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Airtel Digital TV’s Q1 net subs adds highest in 4 years, EBITDA up 9.5% QoQ

MUMBAI: Airtel Digital TV, the direct-to-home (DTH) arm of telecom major Bharti Airtel, has reported its highest fiscal first quarter net subscriber additions in the past four years while average revenue per user (ARPU) has grown 1.7% from the trailing quarter.

Airtel Digital TV’s EBITDA has grown 9.49% to Rs 301.1 crore (Rs 3.01 billion) for the quarter ended 30 June compared to Rs 275 crore (Rs 2.75 billion) in the preceding quarter. EBITDA grew over 25% from the year-ago period.

EBITDA margin to total revenues stood at 36% compared to 35.1% in the prior quarter.

The improvement in EBITDA has resulted in an EBIT of Rs 121.9 crore (Rs 1.21 billion) during the quarter compared to Rs 72 crore (Rs 720 million) in the previous quarter. In the year-ago period, EBIT was at Rs 41.5 crore (Rs 415 million).

Total revenue during the quarter increased 6.74% to Rs 836.9 crore (Rs 8.37 billion) compared to Rs 784 crore (Rs 7.84 billion) in the trailing quarter. This was led by higher ARPU and net subscriber base. A year ago, revenue stood at Rs 684.8 crore (Rs 6.85 billion).

Digital TV Services Operational Performance01

Subscriber growth

The company added 424,000 net subscribers during the quarter, up from 339,000 a year ago. In the previous quarter, the DTH operator mopped up 619,000 net subscribers, which was its highest net subscriber addition in 20 quarters.

Airtel Digital TV’s total subscribers increased 3.6% to 12.15 million for the quarter ended 30 June compared to 11.72 million in the preceding quarter.

ARPU

ARPU increased 1.7% to Rs 233 during the quarter compared to Rs 229 in the trailing quarter. The DTH operator introduced price hike towards the end of March 2016 and this would be visible in the second quarter of FY17.

Churn

Monthly churn remained flat at 0.8%.

CAPEX

CAPEX decreased to Rs 203 crore (Rs 2.03 billion) from Rs 294.3 crore (Rs 2.94 billion) in the preceding quarter. A year ago, CAPEX was at Rs 211.3 crore (Rs 2.11 billion).

Cash flow

The DTH operator had an operating free cash flow of Rs 98.1 crore (Rs 981 million) compared to a negative operating free cash flow of Rs 19.3 crore (Rs 193 million) during the perceding quarter.

Digital TV Services Quarter EndedInvestments

The telco’s cumulative investment in the DTH business has increased to Rs 6,693.6 crore (Rs 66.94 billion) from Rs 6,490.6 crore (Rs 64.91 billion).

Currently, Airtel Digital TV offers 520 channels including 51 HD channels, five international channels and five interactive services.

In June, Bharti Airtel had announced that Airtel Digital TV CEO Shashi Arora would be moving into a new role as CEO and MD of Airtel Payments Bank, the payments bank arm of Bharti Airtel Group. Arora will take up the role once the company receives approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Until then, he will continue as CEO of Airtel Digital TV. The company will get a new CEO to replace Arora.

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