DTH

Sluggish rural consumption, distribution expenses pull down Dish TV’s Q3 numbers

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BENGALURU: A recovered but not fully-up-to-speed rural sector and higher selling and distribution expenses during festival time led to Indian direct-to-home (DTH) major Dish TV India Ltd (Dish TV) reporting lower numbers for the quarter ended 31 December 2017 (Q3 2018, the quarter under review) as compared with the corresponding year ago quarter (yoy). Though the company added net 250,000 subscribers during the quarter, lower ARPU brought down Dish TV’s operating revenue and EBITDA by 1 per cent and 15.5 per cent, respectively, yoy. The company reported a net subscriber base of 1.61 crore at the end of Q3 2018. ARPU of Rs 144 in Q3 2018 was the lowest in the current fiscal as against Rs 148 in Q2 2018 and Rs 149 in Q1 2018. Dish TV’s ARPU before demonetisation in November 2016 was Rs 162. The company has reported net loss after taxes of Rs 3.58 crore in Q3 2018 as against profit of Rs 8.39 crore in Q3 2017.

Dish TV CMD Jawahar Goel said, “One year down the line from demonetisation, we have come a long way but somehow the sting in rural consumption is still missing. This was probably well recognised by the government and hence the impetus towards a stronger rural India. Television continues to remain the cheapest and most wholesome means of entertainment for the masses. DTH has presence in places where few other television service providers have reached. Dish TV, amongst such DTH players, has perhaps the deepest rural connect and hopes to benefit from rural India’s increasing propensity to consume everything including television content.”

In its investor release for Q3 2018, Dish TV said that the pending Dish TV–Videocon d2h merger had hit a roadblock as the company was forced to evaluate the impact of certain proposed proceedings, against the Videocon group, on its rights and obligations under the definitive agreements, and consequential effects on the transactions contemplated thereunder.

Dish TV, on 15 December, had secured the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s approval to the request made by the company for closing the merger of Videocon d2h with and into Dish TV.

Talking about the merger, Goel said, “We acknowledge our 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.”

“We are excited about the future of the merged entity and are raring to put the business in overdrive as soon as the merger completes. Though we have lost some time in FY18, we would want to regain our leadership as well as extract the highest possible synergies in the year ahead,” he explained.

A look at the numbers

Dish TV reported a 1 per cent yoy decline in operating revenue for the quarter under review at Rs 740.77 crore as against Rs 747.98 crore. EBITDA for Q3 2018 was 15.5 per cent y-o-y at Rs 200.52 crore (27.1 percent margin) as compared with Rs 237.42 crore (31.7 percent margin).

Total expenditure for Q3 2018 increased by 4.3 per cent y-o-y to Rs 775.12 crore. Employee benefits expense declined 1.5 per cent y-o-y to Rs 35.80 crore. Operating expenses in Q3 2018 increased by 6.2 per cent yoy to Rs 374.08 crore. Other expenses during the quarter under review increased by 8 per cent to Rs 127.84 crore yoy. Finance costs in Q3 2018 reduced by 18.4 per cent yoy to Rs 50.16 crore.

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