Direct-to-home (DTH) operator Dish TV has added 0.25 million net subscribers during the quarter ended December 31, 2017 (Q3FY18), up 22% year-on-year (YoY). With this, the net subscriber base of the company stood at 16.1 million at the end of the quarter. Note that in Q4FY17, the company had said that demonetization had affected its subscriber addition rate.
The company posted subscription revenues of Rs 691.8 crore for the quarter, which remained flat from Rs 692.1 crore subscription revenues registered in the corresponding quarter last year. The company explained that;
A variety of factors, including a recovered but not fully up to speed rural sector, led to a flattish subscription revenue during the quarter.
Videocon d2h and Dish TV merger
On December 15, 2017, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting approved the proposed merger of VIdeocon d2h with and into Dish TV. Speaking about the merger during the company’s earnings call, Dish TV’s chairman and MD Jawahar Goel said that they will file the relevant intimations and e-forms with the Register of
Company in the last week of February 2018. He added that the company is fully aware of its “shareholders growing impatience with respect to the merger. We would like to assure them that work around the completion of the deal is going ahead with full steam now and should be completed soon.”
The companies had first announced the merger back in November 2016, and had said that they expect to complete it by the second half of 2017.
As of December 31, 2017, Dish TV had a net debt of Rs 850 crore, while Videocon d2h’s gross debt was Rs 1,960 crore and net debt around Rs 1,350 crore.
Dish TV’s license fee is Rs 950 crore, and Videocon’s license fee (as part of contingent liability) is around Rs 575 crore.
On behaviour of rural consumers
Answering an analyst question, Dish TV’s CEO Anil Dua said that since the third quarter is the festive quarter, “we normally expect rural markets to do quite well. As we have mentioned in our release that while the effects of demonetization seem to have gone off, but rural markets are still not up to the speed and that is why probably in the budget you heard lots of proposals which are going to give increased outlets in various sectors in the rural areas. So clearly rural being a strength, I think we stand to benefit from that while currently it is still on a comeback kind of a path, I think going forward it should accelerate and Dish TV should be ideally poised to benefit from that.”
The company posted average revenue per user (ARPU) of Rs 144 for the quarter, down from Rs 149 in the preceding quarter.
Dua said that Dish TV has “managed to increase ARPU to the range of Rs 145 to Rs 150 throughout this year against Rs. 134 at which we exited.” He mentioned that the fluctuations to the tune of Rs 4 or Rs 5 were down to several factors. “For example, we started Mera Apna Pack, some customers who are probably earlier buying Rs 50 to Rs 60 a-la-carte packs may buy 2 to 3 packs of Rs 20 to Rs 30, but that may get several more customers in my fold who are trying to buy a-la-carte packs from me.” Overall, he said ARPU can fluctuate in a short band on quarter-on-quarter basis.
- Operating revenues stood at Rs 740.8 crore in Q3FY18, which essentially remained flat as compared to Rs 748.6 crore in Q2FY18, and Rs 748 crore in Q3FY17.
- Net Loss for the quarter stood at Rs 3.6 crore, compared to a loss of Rs 17.9 crore in Q2FY18. However, in Q3FY17, the company had posted a net profit of Rs 8.4 crore.
- EBITDA stood at Rs 200.5 crore, down 15.6% YoY from Rs 237.6 crore.
- EBITDA margin was 27.1%.