Cable TV

Siti subs rev up; one million subs migrate to pre-paid billing

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BENGALURU: The Subhash Chandra-led Siti Networks Limited (Siti) formerly known as Siti Cable Network Limited, reported 40 percent growth in subscription revenue for the nine month period ended 31 December 2016 (9M-19, YTD) which the company says was Rs 408 in its earnings release.

To further enhance the collections from the ground, Siti says that it is moving to pre-paid billing from current post-paid mode. To achieve this objective pre-paid billing has commenced in select states including Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh across 60 locations with 1 million subscribers migrated to pre-paid as of now. Siti says that it is looking to roll out pre-paid billing across all geographies in the near future.

Consolidated Total Income from Operations (TIO) for the quarter ended 31 December 2016 (Q3-17, current quarter) declined 13.2 percent year-over-year (y-o-y) to Rs 298.46 crore from Rs 344 crore in Q3-16, but increased 3.3 percent quarter-over-quarter (q-o-q) from Rs 288.97 crore in Q2-17.

Consolidated simple EBIDTA without other income for the current quarter declined 42.4 percent y-o-y to Rs 55.02 crore (18.4 percent of TIO, margin) from Rs 95.45 crore (27.7 percent margin), but increased 16.2 percent q-o-q from rs 47.34 crore (16.4 percent margin). The company reported a lower q-o-q net loss in the current quarter at Rs 26.34 crore as compared to a net loss of Rs 46.89 crore in the immediate trailing quarter. Siti had reported a profit after tax (PAT) for Q3-16 of Rs 14.66 crore (4.3 percent margin).

Company speak in its earnings release

Siti executive director & CEO, V D Wadhwa said, ?Our persistent efforts have resulted in improved monetization in Phase-3 DAS areas as we continue to digitize our subscriber base and expand our footprint. At the same time, commencement of pre-paid billing will simplify our business model and improve collection efficiency.?

?The expected Tariff Order will provide further impetus to Industry cash flows and aid in rapid growth. Although there were some near term headwinds in Broadband on account of demonetization, we remain confident of retaining the momentum in the coming quarters,? added Wadhwa.

Siti says that its Broadband internet (Broadband) customer base grew to 2.13 lakh by Q3-17 exit. It has introduced new plans in Delhi and Haryana under both unlimited & limited data category catering to the ever increasing data usage needs of Broadband customers. The company expects to roll out high speed DOCSIS 2 and 3 Broadband Services in 5 locations by Q1-18.

Siti claims that its continuous focus on HD services has started to yield results, with SITI HD+ customer base up 33 percent over Q2-17 to 1.2 lacs. To further give boost to HD adoption, the company has rolled out an SD to HD STB upgrade offer. The company says that there has been strong adoption being seen in Phase 3 & 4 areas. Siti is offers about 50 HD channels across a wide array of genres across geographies.

Since the launch of SITI-DITTO OTT services, the company says its OTT customer base has grown strongly to 31,000 subscribers. Siti is aggressively exploring options with other OTT players to harness growth in this fast expanding space.

Four local channels were launched in Q3-17 on the lines of My Siti channel launched in the earlier quarter.

Let us look at the other numbers reported by Siti

Total Expenditure increased 6.4 percent y-o-y to Rs 305.99 crore (102.5 percent of TIO) from Rs 287.67 crore (83.6 percent of TIO) in the corresponding year ago quarter and increased 2.4 percent q-o-q from Rs 298.81 crore (103.4 percent of TIO).

Employee Benefit Expense increased 33.8 percent to Rs 19.07 crore (6.4 percent of TIO) in the current quarter from Rs 14.26 (4.1 percent of TIO) crore in Q3-16 but reduced 7.9 percent from Rs 20.70 crore (7.2 percent of TIO).

Carriage sharing, pay channel and related costs in Q3-17 declined 2.9 percent y-o-y to Rs 144.40 crore (48.4 percent of TIO) from Rs 148.66 crore (43. 2 percent of TIO) and was almost flat (increased 0.7 percent) q-o-q as compared to Rs 143.141 crore (49.6 percent of TIO).

Finance costs in the current quarter increased 2.6 percent y-o-y to Rs 35.97 crore (12.1 percent of TIO) from Rs 35.05 crore (10.2 percent of TIO) and increased 28.5 percent q-o-q from Rs 28 crore (9.7 percent of TIO.

Note: The unit of currency in this report is the Indian rupee - Rs (also conventionally represented by INR). The Indian numbering system or the Vedic numbering system has been used to denote money values. The basic conversion to the international norm would be:

(a) 100,00,000 = 100 lakh = 10,000,000 = 10 million = 1 crore.

(b) 10,000 lakh = 100 crore = 1 arab = 1 billion.

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