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Dish TV eyes 1.7 mn net subscriber adds in FY16; capex at Rs 7.5 bn

MUMBAI: Dish TV, India’s leading direct-to-home (DTH) operator, is looking to mop up over 1.5 million net subscribers and will have a capital expenditure requirement of around Rs 750 crore (Rs 7.5 billion) this fiscal, a senior official said.

The target is to add anywhere between 1.5 million and 1.7 million net subscribers in a year that coincides with the implementation of digital addressable system (DAS) in Phase III towns. The government has mandated 31 December 2015 as the deadline for Phase III of DAS.

Dish TV had added 2.46 million gross and 1.5 million net subscribers in fiscal 2015. Its total net subscriber base stood at 12.9 million, as of 31 March 2015. The management’s aim is to repeat the growth performance this year as well.

Incidentally, Dish TV is eyeing big growth in Phases III and IV. It also expects its sub-brand Zing to do well in these price-sensitive markets.

Zing accounts for 22 per cent of Dish TV’s incremental net additions.

More subscribers will also mean an increase in Dish TV’s capex for FY16. In FY15, the capex was at Rs 715 crore (Rs 7.15 billion).

Dish TV said it is fully funded for growth in Phase III and IV markets.

The DTH company’s set-top-box (STB) inventory stood at 0.8 million, as of 31 March 2015.

Meanwhile, high definition (HD) share in subscriber additions has increased from 17-18 per cent to 22 per cent in Q4, aided by cricket World Cup. The company is confident of maintaining the HD share this fiscal as well.

Carriage revenue

In the fourth quarter of FY15, Dish TV earned carriage revenue of Rs 31 crore (Rs 310 million). Going forward, it is expecting the quarterly trend of Rs 30–31 crore (Rs 300–310 million) to continue for all the four quarters of FY16.

As per the guidance, Dish TV’s carriage revenue will be in the range of Rs 120 crore (Rs 1.20 billion) in FY16.

In FY15, carriage revenue stood at Rs 81 crore (Rs 810 million).

Programming cost

Dish TV has guided for a mid-single digit increase in programming cost for FY16. Incidentally, Dish TV’s next round of content contract renewal is in September 2016.

“By the time we get there, we will be having 15-16 million subscribers. Our negotiating power with broadcasters will improve,” the Dish TV official said.

In FY15, Dish TV’s content/ programming cost rose just 2.87 per cent to Rs 800.8 crore (Rs 8.01 billion).

ARPU

Dish TV has guided for an ARPU (average revenue per user) increase of 6-7 per cent this fiscal, from its exit ARPU for the quarter ended FY15.

Dish TV’s ARPU is seeing an upward trend. While the cricket World Cup had lifted the exit quarter ARPU of FY15, the management indicated that it will continue to work towards increasing ARPU.

Even if its ARPU growth was constrained because of competition from cable, Dish TV expects that competition would follow the package price increase in coming months.

In March, Dish TV had first introduced the concept of differential pricing in the four cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Pune. Later, from 12 May, the DTH operator has extended it to all the 42 cities in Phases I and II, wherein it has increased the price of all the packs by Rs 10.

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