Direct-to-home (DTH) operator Dish TV has added 0.165 million net subscribers during the quarter ended March 2017 (Q4 FY17), a drop from the 0.204 million subscribers it added last quarter. With this, Dish TV’s total number of subscribers now stands at 15.5 million.

The company did not specify its average revenues per user, but added that demonetization affected its subscriber addition rate. “The initial growth momentum…in terms of subscriber additions, took a temporary but prolonged hit. The DTH industry slightly de-grew in terms of new acquisitions during the fiscal despite coming closer to the implementation of digitization. Dish TV saw subscribers conserving cash for bigger necessities right from the time demonetization was announced in November up to the end of the fiscal (March 2017),” the company added.

However, Dish TV expects consumer spending returning to normal in the short-term as cash flows back into the system. It said that “the pent-up demand due to demonetization will ensure a spike in consumerism in the short to medium term. Moreover, digitization will be at its peak this year with left out areas including Tamil Nadu in the south picking up momentum due to regulatory push.’

On GST: The Company said that under the GST regime, “DTH services will be subject to (flat) 18% GST rate as soon as the new indirect tax regime is implemented in the country.” Prior to this, the industry had multiple tax brackets including Entertainment Tax, Service Tax and License Fees. Jawahar Goel, CMD of Dish TV India said that the company will be able to “pass on the uniform tax to subscribers” and help reduce “day-to-day business and the associated savings in administration, litigation as well as compliance costs.” However, he did not expand on how much percentage tax Dish TV would pass on to the consumer.

GST will help increase ARPU: The company also added that the GST regime will help “increase tax compliance in cable businesses in the country. Higher tax compliance in cable would necessarily lead to higher average revenue per user for the sector as a whole.”

On Dish TH-Videocon D2H merger: Goel said that in order to grow its revenue in the current competitive fiscal year, the company will have to look at adding new subscribers. He also pointed out that digitization of Set-Top-Boxes will “have a material role to play” in subscriber addition. Goel, however, added that the proposed merger of Dish TV-Videocon “will help create scale in the highly-fragmented TV distribution landscape,” increasing its chances of acquiring new customers.

Financials

– Operating revenues of Rs 708.6 crore in Q4 FY17, down 6.3% YoY.
-Net Loss for the quarter stood at Rs 28.3 crore, compared to a profit of Rs 482.8 crore in Q4FY16.
-Subscription revenues of Rs 620.5 crore, down 11.1% YoY
-EBITDA of Rs 190.5 crore, down 26.9% YoY from Rs 260.8 crore in Q4FY16.