BENGALURU: The 31 December, 2015 deadline for Digital Addressable System (DAS) Phase III has been a boost for the carriage industry in subscriber additions, revenues, and operating profits. Buoyed by the government’s decision to stick to deadlines for digitisation, the direct-to-home (DTH) industry in India is continuing its bloom run, if one were to go by the results reported by Bharti Airtel for its Digital TV services (Airtel DTH) for the quarter ended 31 December, 2015 (Q3-2016, current quarter).
Revenue in Q3-2016 increased 19 per cent to Rs 742.2 crore, up 19 per cent YoY as compared to Rs 623.4 crore. EBIDTA for Q3-2016 grew 45 per cent to Rs 247.4 crore (33.3 per cent margin) as compared to Rs 170.7 crore (27.4 per cent margin).
Note: 100,00,000 = 100 lakh = 10 million = 1 crore
The segment’s subscriber base grew 13.2 per cent YoY to 111.06 lakh in the current quarter as compared to 98.10 lakh and grew five per cent as compared to 105.76 lakh in the immediate preceding quarter. Though in US dollar terms, average revenue per user (ARPU) was constant YoY and QoQ at $3.5, in Indian rupees it has increased seven per cent YoY to Rs 229 from Rs 214 and increased two per cent QoQ from Rs 224. Given that the deadline for DAS phase III was 31 December, 2015, Airtel DTH segment reported 5.30 lakh net subscriber additions in the current quarter, which was almost double (1.96 times) the 2.70 lakh subscriber additions in Q3-2015 and more than triple (3.2 times) the 1.64 lakh subscribers added in Q2-2016.
Subscriber churn in Q3-2016 was lower at 0.7 per cent as compared to one per cent in Q3-2015 and 1.3 per cent in the immediate trailing quarter.
Airtel’s CAPEX for its DTH segment more than doubled (by 2.1 times) to Rs 342.2 crore as compared to Rs 163 crore in Q3-2015. Airtel’s cumulative investments in its DTH segment increased 17 per cent YoY to Rs 6177 crore as compared to Rs 5494.8 crore.