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Dish TV’s Q1 subs adds strong, EBITDA up 12% amid flat ARPU
MUMBAI: DTH operator Dish TV reported strong subscriber additions in the fiscal first quarter and content cost increased below double-digit but average revenue per user (ARPU) stayed flat.
Consolidated EBITDA grew 12.3% to Rs 264.6 crore (Rs 2.65 billion) compared to Rs 235.7 crore (Rs 2.36 billion) a year ago. In the preceding quarter, EBITDA stood at Rs 260.8 crore (Rs 2.61 billion).
Consolidated net profit fell to Rs 40.9 crore (Rs 409 million) from Rs 54.2 crore (Rs 542 million) a year ago. In the preceding quarter, the net profit was Rs 482.8 crore (Rs 4.83 billion) as it included a deferred tax expense of Rs 436 crore (Rs 4.36 billion).
Dish TV’s consolidated operating revenue in the quarter ended June 2016 fell to Rs 778.6 crore (Rs 7.79 billion) from Rs 736.7 crore (Rs 7.37 billion) a year ago. In the preceding quarter, operating revenue stood at Rs 799.3 crore (Rs 7.99 billion).
Subscription revenue stood at Rs 728.2 crore (Rs 7.28 billion) compared to Rs 682.8 crore (Rs 6.83 billion) in the earlier year and Rs 741 crore (Rs 7.41 billion) in the preceding quarter.
Since Dish TV has changed its accounting policy and entertainment tax is now netted out from subscription revenue, margins and revenue are not strictly comparable. Earlier, entertainment tax was booked as cost.
ARPU stood at Rs. 174, which was the same in the preceding quarter. The ARPU stood at Rs 173 in the year-ago period, posting an increase of just 0.6% YoY. This was despite a price increase in April 2016, indicating that subscriber additions are taking place more on the lower packs.
Dish TV saw 402,000 net subscriber additions during the quarter, taking its net subscriber base to 14.9 million.
The DTH operator had added 390,000 net subscribers in the year-ago period. In the preceding quarter, Dish TV had seen a net subscriber addition of 508,000.
Programming and other cost rose 9.7% YoY.
Churn for the quarter was at 0.7% per month, the same as the preceding quarter and the previous fiscal year.
Dish TV’s expenses, which include cost of goods and services, personnel cost, other expenses (administrative expenses), selling and distribution expenses, narrowed to Rs 513.9 crore (Rs 5.14 billion) compared to Rs 538.5 crore (Rs 5.39 billion) in the preceding quarter. Expenses stood at Rs 500.9 crore (Rs 5.01 billion) in the same quarter of the previous fiscal.
Cost of goods and services decreased to Rs 358.4 crore (Rs 3.58 billion) from Rs 381.6 crore (Rs 3.82 billion) in the trailing quarter. In the previous fiscal, the cost of goods and services was Rs 365 crore (Rs 3.65 billion). Personnel cost stood at Rs 38.1 crore (Rs 381 million) compared to Rs 29.8 crore (Rs 298 million) in the preceding quarter and Rs 34.7 crore (Rs 347 million) in the year-ago period.
Discussing the results, Dish TV CMD Jawahar Goel said, “Healthy subscriber additions led to a 12.3% YoY increase in subscription revenues (on a like-to-like basis). EBITDA margin bounced to 34% from 32% in the corresponding quarter last fiscal. Net profit for the quarter was Rs 409 million, leading to FCF generation of Rs 627 million. Churn for the quarter at 0.7% p.m. remained well within manageable limits.”
“Fiscal 2017 started on an optimistic note for the Indian pay DTH industry. While the Delhi High Court is likely to take up hearing of the digitisation Phase III matter in August this year, cable operators may have no option but to digitise remaining analogue cable networks as the Centre gears up to auction 700 MHz spectrum to telecom operators. The government is also contemplating utilisation of 200 MHz airwaves for mobile telephony,” he added.
Buoyed by digitisation, notwithstanding the relative seasonal weakness in Q1, the industry collectively added around 15% higher subscribers compared to the same quarter last fiscal.
“Dish TV maintained its lead in incremental subscriber additions during the quarter. Our strengthened distribution in DAS Phase III and IV areas, along with the popularity of the Dish TV Insta Care, the 4-hour service assurance campaign, was instrumental in helping us maintain an edge over competition. Our regional and mass-market offerings continued to remain crowd-pullers in respective geographies,” Goel said.
Dish TV recently unveiled an all-new HD campaign ‘Ab India Banega HD’ along with the introduction of long-duration HD packs to further accelerate the adoption of HD services.
“The consumer’s growing passion for HD has the potential to trigger yet another round of growth, beyond that being driven by digitisation, for the DTH industry. Going forward, we would continue to build on our HD advantage while focusing on its sales across the country,” Goel added.
Dish TV has aligned its ongoing efforts to create and train an efficient, well-trained workforce of DTH technicians with the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY).
Since its inception, Dish TV has trained more than 200,000 candidates in the installation, repair, sales and service of DTH equipment. Going forward, the company intends to continue to impart DTH skill training for human capital development relevant to the industry and provide employment/entrepreneurship opportunities to a similar number of aspirants in the next few years.
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill is likely to be discussed and passed during the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament. Expressing optimism about the implications of the tax reform, Goel said, “We continue to be optimistic about margin expansion and ease of doing business that should result from the implementation of GST.”
Expressing his views on other regulatory overhangs, Goel, said, “An industry-favourable resolution of the DTH licence fee matter should go a long way in ensuring non-discrimination among various distribution platforms in the country. We are also hopeful of a just and logical outcome of the currently debated TRAI consultation paper on Interconnection Framework for Broadcasting TV Services Distributed through Addressable Systems.”
To further enhance the digital TV experience for subscribers and build an affordable and fast deployment model for itself, Dish TV recently selected Wyplay’s Frog as the middleware for its next-generation set-top boxes.