Airtel Digital TV operating revenue up as bottom line dips for first quarter

Digital TV Operating revenue grew 0.8%, operating profit declined 23.5%


BENGALURU: The digital TV services segment from Sunil Mittal’s Bharti Airtel Ltd (Airtel), Airtel Digital TV, which provides direct to home (DTH) satellite television services, reported growth of 0.8 percent in operating revenue at Rs 744.8 crore for the quarter ended 30 June 2020 (Q1 2020, quarter or period under review) as compared to Rs 738.9 crore for the corresponding quarter of the previous year Q1 2019 (y-o-y). However, this is not a true oranges-oranges comparison, since as of 1 March 2020, Airtel Digital TV services has implemented new guidelines of NCF (Network Carriage Fees) under the new tariff order (NTO) from Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). The company says in a media release that Airtel Digital TV revenue witnessed a growth of 9.3 percent y-o-y on an underlying basis, on the back of strong customer additions.

Airtel Digital TV operating profit for the quarter under review declined 23.5 percent to Rs 276.2 crore (37.1 percent of operating revenue) as compared to Rs 361.2 crore (48.9 percent of operating revenue) for Q1 2020. Airtel reported 1.3 percent growth in Assets to Rs 3,462 crore for Q1 2021 from Rs 3,417.4 crore in Q1 2020. However, Assets in Q1 2021 were 12.9 percent lower than the Rs 3,794.9 crore in the immediate trailing quarter (Q4 2020). The segment’s liabilities for Q1 2021 grew 11.6 percent to Rs 4000.5 crore from Rs 3,585.2 crore in Q1 2020. Liabilities in the quarter under review were however 3 percent lower than the Rs 4,122.4 crore in the immediate trailing quarter Q4 2020.

The company reported a 5.1 percent y-o-y increase in net DTH subscribers in Q1 2021 at 1.68 crore as compared to 1.6 crore in the corresponding quarter of the previous year.

Bharti Airtel’s consolidated revenue for Q1 2021 grew 15.4 percent on an underlying basis to Rs 23,939 crore as compared to the year ago quarter. Consolidated EBIDTA for the quarter under review was Rs 10,639 crore (44.4 percent margin). India revenue at Rs 17,589 crore were up 14.6 percent and up 15.1 percent on an underlying basis y-o-y.

An earnings media release for Q1 2021 quotes Airtel MD and CEO, India & South Asia Gopal Vittal: “We are going through an unprecedented crisis caused by COVID. Despite this, our teams have served the country well and kept our customers connected. Data traffic growth surged by ~73 percent y-o-y even as 4G net additions slowed down to 2 Million caused by supply chain shocks in the device ecosystem. Revenues grew by 15% Y-o-Y and performance was satisfactory across all segments. Our flagship “War on Waste” program, helped improve EBITDA margin by 1.6 percent over the previous quarter. To serve our customers even better, we have launched a company-wide program to improve our customer experience. We continue to invest in the best of emerging technologies to make our networks future ready. We have made rapid strides in our digital business, with nearly 155 million monthly active users across Airtel Thanks, Wynk, Xstream and our payments platforms. Today, 60 percent of Airtel’s entire business goes through its digital channels. We are most excited about the string of partners we are attracting in order to build greater stickiness and ultimately growth from our digital assets.”

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