MUMBAI: Among the early movers in the cable TV industry, the Hinduja group run - NXT Digital has turned out impressive financials for the financial year 2020. The topline has shown significant growth, it has turned EBIDTA positive and how; the red ink on its bottomline has been replaced by fat profits and to top it all it has even declared a dividend of 50 per cent. And it's all thanks to its subsidiary IMCL, which has declared a robust performance over the past four quarters.
On a consolidated basis, revenues grew by 65 per cent over FY19, from Rs 704.62crore to Rs 1,162.10crore; operating EBIDTA rose significantly to Rs 218.01crore against a loss of Rs 72.61crore; its PAT is a healthy Rs 110.05 crore as against a loss of Rs 303.43 crore in FY19. Buoyed by the great showing, a dividend of 50 per cent has been declared to the joys of many a shareholder.
NXT Digital announced that its HITS platform today has five million subscribers through local cable operators (LCOs) and smaller multisystem operators (MSOs) in 1500 towns all over India, and even in remote places such as Ladkah, Kargul, the far north east and the Andaman, Nicobar and Lakshwadeep islands. The technology, using C-band is not affected by rain or adverse weather and customers in these areas continue to enjoy digital services, uninterrupted.
"This kind of outstanding performance consistently over the last four quarters speaks volumes on our commitment towards our subscribers through strong value creation," says IMCL CEO Vynsley Fernandes."We firmly stand committed to further our endeavor of creating an integrated platform for digital services, offering cable TV, satellite, broadband and other digital media, all under one roof. Building an effective framework along with our product bundling strategy has been crucial for our business turnaround in FY20. With close to a 100 per cent prepaid base and a substantial presence in phase 3 and 4 markets, IMCL expects to continue on its digital growth path."
The company says it has continued to focus on key drivers through FY' 20. Some of these include:
* Targeting the the fastest growing segments of semi-urban and rural India. Over 60 per cent of its subscriber base is in these markets which continue to see increasing pay TV penetration as well as growing average revenue per user (ARPU).
*Growing ARPU through value added services and differentiated products in the cities. Launching innovative products like layering cable TV with broadband and value-added services, coupled with 24X7 services on ground.
* Successfully implementing the new regulatory framework, set out by the TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) in early 2019. The visionary framework which brought in much needed transparency to the pay TV ecosystem and enhanced subscriber choice has buoyed the business model and set out a clearly defined level playing field for the industry.
* Maintaining pre-paid collections at nearly 100 per cent, whilst ensuring low churn through a focused E&R (engagement &retention) model for subscribers and franchisees.
* Leveraging its leadership position in technology, whilst improving cost efficiencies. Recently moved to 32APSK technology, that improves satellite throughput by over 30 per cent.
* Working closely with its 9,000 plus franchisees to remain focused on the subscriber through continuous enhancement of the quality of service and viewership experience.
This apart, the company is working on developing an indigenous set top box keeping in mind the government's Make in India mandate; it has been conducting digital online training for its LCOs; it has built a robust digital payment collection platform, and even rolled out a proactive business continuity plan to ensure that its subscribers get top class service even during cyclone and the ongoing Covid2019 pandemic that has rocked India and the world.
Going forward, it plans to expand on its managed services model and has signed on additional MSOs; that should double its subscriber base to 10 million. The company says the model effectively supports these smaller MSOs and LCOs several of whom are unable to sustain their businesses due to increasing costs of connectivity and technology obsolescence.
Fernandes adds that the idea is to expand the services its franchisees can offer, making them multi-product and multi- service providers; offering customers a whole range of services from FMCG products to digital and financial solutions.
"This will help our franchisees not only sustain their businesses, but diversify and grow their earnings portfolio, across the country," he says. "We remain focused on delivering integrated services to customers, bundling television with broadband services from our ISP subsidiary OneOTT iNTERTAINMENT, which has a presence in over 40 cities."