52-week Blockbuster: Dish TV

Dish TV has been riding on the wave of increased subscriber preference to the DTH platform for digital viewing. After a slow start, the total DTH subscriber base in the country is now close to 31 million.

In an industry with as many as six players, the company has still been able to manage an impressive market share of over 30 per cent.

The company had a challenging 2008 and tepid growth in the first half 2009 where erosion in ARPUs was caused as entrenched players such as Tata Sky and Sun Direct as well as newer operators such as Airtel chased subscribers aggressively.

But, from late 2009 and in 2010, ARPUs have stabilised. In the recent quarter, there even been a marginal improvement to Rs 142. Subscriber acquisition costs too are down from Rs 2,800 levels to Rs 2,142 in the December quarter.

Despite the competition, Dish TV has seen increasing subscriber addition with 1.1 million added in the December 2010 quarter compared to just 0.55 million managed over the same period in the previous year. This has led to an impressive revenue growth.

By rationalising packages and by increasing spends on improving visibility, the company has been able to improve margins too. From having a negative operating margin, over the last 4-5 quarters, Dish TV has seen its margins improve to over 17 per cent levels. The proportion of content cost to revenues has also seen continuous reduction, thus helping margins.

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