DEN’s EBITDA turns around in FY17; plans to launch Android open-source box by Q3 FY18

MUMBAI: To allow consumers to watch internet content besides linear TV channels, multi-system operator (MSO) DEN Networks is planning to launch an Android open-source box by Q3 of FY18.

Direct-to-home (DTH) operator Airtel Digital TV has launched a hybrid STB, Airtel Internet TV, which comes preloaded with Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Music, Google Play Games, Airtel Movies and more. It also comes with access to Google Play Store, allowing users to download their favourite apps, content and games on to their TV.

DEN Networks said that its cable TV EBITDA has jumped to Rs 144 crore for the year ended 31 March 2017 compared to Rs 18 crore a year ago.

Post-activation EBIDTA doubled to Rs 254 crore in FY17 compared to Rs 127 crore a year ago.

Consolidated full-year pre-activation EBITDA stood at Rs 135 crore as against a loss of Rs 107 crore in FY16.

Cable subscription revenue increased 33% to Rs 646 crore from Rs 487 crore in FY16.

DEN said that it had focused hugely on cash collections during the year, which had brought down the net debt of the company to Rs 181 crore as on 31 March 2017, thereby deleveraging the balance sheet of the company.

Broadband biz

DEN said that its broadband business had broken even in the second half of the year with EBITDA losses for the full financial year coming down substantially to Rs 10 crore compared to Rs 66 crore in the previous year.

Broadband revenue doubled to Rs 81 crore compared to Rs 40 crore a year ago.

SN SharmaDEN Networks CEO SN Sharma said, “Cable subscription revenues grew by 33% in the current financial year and contributed to the financial turnaround for the company. EBITDA for DAS I has grown from 23% to 30% and EBITDA for DAS II has grown from 11% to 18% this year. The company continues to focus on core businesses, while preparing for HD box deployment, cost optimisation and technology upgrade to enhance consumer experience and improve operational efficiency.”

During the fiscal period, DEN launched over-the-top (OTT) and gaming services for its subscribers in 2016–17. DEN had launched its OTT app DEN TV+ in February with 130+ free-to-air channels and 2,500 movies.

For gaming services, DEN has tied up with France-based Visiware International, which is a leading provider of interactive games for TV under the ‘Playin TV’ brand.

To improve cable subscription revenue, the MSO renewed its focus on HD services with aggressive pricing.

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