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Dish TV-Videocon d2h to bank on economies of scale

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MUMBAI: The  long-awaited fusion of Dish TV and Videocon d2h  finally saw the light of day  on 22 March 2018. The pioneer in the direct-to-home (DTH) sector, Dish TV, and the fast-growing Mumbai-hqed and Dhoot family promoted service came together making Dish TV Videocon  d2h the largest pay TV operator in India and among  the top three in the world.

The merged TV distirbution platform  will benefit from economies of scale while leveraging the individual strengths of the two services. One of the biggest attractions for the Jawahar Goel and Essel group promoted Dish TV as the acquirer was Videocon’s significantly higher average revenue per user (ARPU) as compared to Dish TV. While the former had an ARPU  of Rs 210, the latter’s ARPU stood at Rs 155-160. The combined ARPU is expected to be Rs 180. Owing to competition from Free Dish and other operational roadblocks, Dish TV had a lower ARPU but things are on the upswing, according to Dish TV CFO Rajeev Dalmia.

Going forward, the acquirer, Dish TV, plans to keep the two brands independent in order to explore the regional opportunities as stated by Dish TV group CEO Anil Dua in an interaction with Indiantelevision.com.

For any merger of this magnitude, integration is a big challenge and Dish TV is no exception. To ease matters, the company is concentrating on cultural integration in a bid to get the ship in order. The management undertook a cultural survey with 2000 participants so as to ease the pain of integration. Though still it has only been more than a month since the merger, the two operators’ office premises, logistics and warehouses have already been combined. Dua reiterated that the combined entity would draw synergies to the tune of Rs 510 crore through revenue aggregation and cost savings.

In case of geographical capability, both brands bring different strengths to the table. The consolidated entity is expected to become a pan-India behemoth with its combined 29 million subscribers with Dish TV contributing with 16 million subscribers and Videocon d2h pitching in with  13 million users as on 31 March 2018.

“Dish TV’s has always had benchmark content cost in the industry while Videocon’s content cost has been on the higher side,” said Dua acknowledging the disparity. Dish TV’s cost of content is 30-31 per cent of subscription revenue currently while the number for Videocon is higher at 36 per cent. He pointed out that the combined cost of content will be lower and hover around 30 per cent. “We want to maintain the cost of content as a percentage of total revenue—including advertising, carriage fees, value-added services along with other income—for the combined entity at 28 per cent,” added Dalmia.

One of the key blocks of the merger is restructuring and assigning promising personnel to important positions. The management, which conspicuously does not feature anyone from Videocon, has appointed two marketing heads—one for each brand. Dish TV has put in place a common business head for North India and East India for the brands while also having a common business head for South India and West India.

“We have one national service head for a common model of service across the country. Moreover, Ranjit Singh will continue to be the legal head for both brands,” Dua pointed out.

Post merger, Dish TV wants to exploit the regional strengths without limiting the strength of the individual brands. The DTH operator has retained two independent brands as they have two marketing heads and two separate sales teams for each brand.

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