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Dish TV aims for 1.4 million subscriber additions in FY 20

The ARPU of Dish TV stood for the year stood at Rs 202

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MUMBAI: While the transition period after the new tariff order implementation has affected major distribution platform operators (DPOs) in the quarter, the largest DTH platform of India, Dish TV, was not an exception. The company also experienced a lower subscriber addition rate in the fourth quarter of FY2019 which stood at 47,000. However, the company has planned to aim for 1.4 million net additions in FY 20 on the back of existing opportunities. Dish TV India group CEO Anil Dua added that the start has been promising.

Talking about the guidance for FY20, Dish TV CMD Jawahar Goel said that the company is excited about the opportunities existing from DD Free Dish and cable operators too. In addition to that, the DTH operator also launched a special India Cricket service as the cricket season will prevail throughout the year. Goel added that the service is finding good favour in customers. While he is confident about subscriber addition in FY 20, he also added the minimum aspiration would be an addition of 0.7 million.

The ARPU of Dish TV stood at Rs 202 for the year with March showing the best number. Dish TV management hopes to exit FY 2020 with around Rs 1600 crore in terms of net debt. On the other hand, it gave guidance of Rs 600-650 crore capex in FY 20.

“Up to March, it was status quo. But seasonal impacts will come from the current quarter. And it will continue to be so the whole year. And as per the calculation that we have done in the month of April and May, there are benefits and the cost is lower if we compare it with the last quarter. And as the consumer matures and starts adopting more and more, benefits will continue in the quarter going forward,” Dish TV CFO Rajeev Dalmia commented on the content cost which was at Rs 2,275 crore in FY 19.

“One of the components of the regulation, on the ratio between bouquet and a-la-carte prices was not agreed by the court. TRAI has been noticing that a channel priced at Rs 19 is available for much lower in a bouquet. This anomaly has to go away. We are talking to TRAI as a DPO community to sort out this matter. Since consumer prices have not come down TRAI is a bit concerned that the a-la-carte prices are artificially high. So, we have to wait for some more time to make a judgment as to how is it going to pan out,” Goel commented while asked on future content costs.

Goel also added that as Dish TV is operating on a commission basis, the content cost ideally should be a pass-through item to the broadcaster. He also added that it is new learning for the broadcaster and the DPO. According to him, both the segments are working hand-in-hand on the revenue growth and marketing needs. He added that while broadcasters have been living for so many decades on an extortion model, they have now come on the marketing and partnership model.

Dish TV recently launched its in-house OTT platform Watcho with an investment of Rs 35 crore. Dua said that it is getting good traction with minimal marketing. The OTT platform already has two lakh users and more than 2 million sessions.

“We have about 20 shows and web series on the platform. But the good thing is that, on one hand, the content is very reasonably priced in terms of our cost and on the other hand, the way we are looking at it is for stickiness on our current platform. So, from a cost point of view, we do not see them galloping as we go forward. I think we are looking at a model where sooner rather than later, investment starts paying back for itself,” Dua added. 

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