Direct to Home television services operator Dish TV continues to struggle with its subscriber growth rate, although there seems to be a minor improvement: It added 0.226 million net subscribers for the quarter ended March 31, 2014 (Q4-FY14), up from 0.22 million additions in previous quarter and 0.2 million additions in the same quarter last year. The net subscriber base now stands at 11.4 million for the quarter.
For the year ended March 31, 2014 (FY14), the company added 0.81 million net subscribers. To put things into context, Dish TV had added 0.83 million net customers in a single quarter last year (Q3-FY13) to take its net subscriber base to 10.5 million for that quarter. Incidentally, Q3-FY13 was also the last quarter where the company saw such growth, following which the subscriber growth rate dipped significantly in Q4-FY13, wherein it added only 0.2 million subscribers. The growth rate has remained more or less flat ever since.
The company however mentions that it has regained incremental share leadership during the quarter, accounting for 24% share of gross additions.
Dish TV Zing: During the quarter, Dish TV also launched (pdf) a new sub-brand called ‘Zing’ to cater to the Phase 3 & 4 digitization markets. Through this brand, Dish TV claims that it will be offering the maximum number of local channels at minimal monthly rental for consumers. It seems to be targeting the regional viewers through this service and has rolled it out to three markets until now – Kolkata, Odisha and Tripura.
– Average Revenue Per User: The average revenue per user (ARPU) for Dish TV grew to Rs 170 from Rs 166 in the previous quarter and up 7.6% year-on-year (YoY).
– Its EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization) EBITDA for the quarter was at Rs 128.9 crore, up 7.4% YoY.
– Churn remained flat at 0.6%. It has remained flat for the past two quarters.
Strangely, the company hasn’t disclosed the subscription revenues or the subscription acquisition cost for the quarter. In the previous quarter, it had reported subscription revenues of Rs 552.9 crore, up 11.9% YoY while the subscription acquisition cost was at Rs. 1,889, down 14.2% YoY. Dish TV however informed that the FY14 subscription revenues was up 14.7% YoY.
DTH License renewal: Dish TV mentions that its DTH license was valid up to September 30, 2013, however before the expiry date, the company had approached relevant authorities who have extended the license validity for an interim time until the final policy for the renewal of DTH license is laid down by the government. Dish TV however noted that it is not expecting any financial adjustment with this regard.
Demand Notice from Information & Broadcasting ministry: The company had also received a demand notice of Rs 624.2 crore from the Ministry of Information and broadcasting towards the DTH license fee. Dish TV informs that it has challenged this demand before The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) who has directed the ministry not to enforce the demand until the next order.
Sri Lanka Operations: Dish TV informs that it has made further headway into their Sri Lanka project and has launched test signals as per plans. In the previous quarter, it had stated plans of launching test signals by end of February 2014.
Dish TV reported an operating revenue of Rs 636.9 crore for the quarter, registering a minor 3.93% growth from Rs 612.8 crore in the previous quarter and a modest 14.7% growth from Rs 555.4 crore in Q4-FY13.
The net loss increased significantly to Rs 149 crore for the quarter from Rs 43.6 crore loss in the same quarter last year. This was due to a prior period adjustment of Rs 116.4 crore on account of one-time advance contribution towards CPEs (Consumer Premises Equipment or essentially set top boxes) in the form of rentals and activation. Without this adjustment, the company would’ve reported a loss of Rs 32.6 crore.
For the financial year ending March 31, 2014 (FY14), Dish TV reported an operating revenue of Rs 2,509 crore, up 15.8% while the EBITDA was at Rs 626.1 crore for the fiscal, up 8% YoY. The net loss was at Rs 154.2 crore due to the prior period adjustment of Rs 116.4 crore.