Cable TV

Decoding Covid2019 impact on GTPL Hathway’s cable, broadband business

Residential customers have gone up in both the businesses

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MUMBAI: As the country is struggling with the Covid2019 pandemic, cable TV and internet have acted as the nervous system to keep people informed and entertained. Due to the need of staying connected, the cable and broadband service providers like GTPL Hathway have seen a surge in demand on both sides of the business.

GTPL Hathway will re-evaluate strategies after observing the Covid2019 impact; however, the company’s business is not much impacted at this stage as people are watching more TV, and consuming more data. This means that consumers are upgrading existing packs.

“If you see the subscriber base (on the cable side), we have grown by 10 per cent this year. We are going to grow more, if all things go well. So the target is to grow more than 10 per cent on subscriber base. And on the revenue side also we want to maintain our CAGR of what we did in the last four years,” GTPL Hathway CATV business head and chief strategy officer Piyush Pankaj said in an earnings call.

While on-ground collections have been a major issue for a large number of MSOs, the company has given online payment facilities to the local cable operators (LCO) also. “LCO has also started collecting online. We have given that facility to the LCOs that they can collect online from their subscribers, which is going directly to their bank account and then digitally they are paying us. And we have given some relaxation on that way. So the situation is totally under control. And we are getting the collections as projected,” Pankaj said.

Since free-to-air broadcasters have been adversely affected by dwindling advertising revenue, there might be re-negotiation on carriage fee and placement fee if the current turmoil persists. However, with 70-75 per cent revenue coming from placement, carriage and marketing side from pay broadcasters, the company is not foreseeing any impact on that.

While upping the broadband game significantly, it has also added around 80k subscribers in FY20. As the company reached 30k net subscribers’ addition in the last quarter, it aims to maintain and increase that trend. Hence, it is looking at 120k to 150k subscribers in FY 21.

“The residential customers have gone up in the last 30 days, both on the broadband side and cable side. But commercial customers like shops, offices, restaurants, hotels have come down. So you can say it's more of a net-net for both the businesses, for the broadband and the cable. We are not getting renewals for commercial restaurants, offices, and hotels. But there is a surge in the residential connections,” Pankaj said.

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