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Dish TV India Ltd. declares Q1FY21 Results - harnessing the digital edge

Sep 03, 2020
Dish TV India Limited (BSE: 532839, NSE: DISHTV, LSE: DTVL) today reported first quarter fiscal 2021 unaudited consolidated subscription revenues of Rs. 7,915 million and operating revenues of Rs. 8,356 million. EBITDA for the quarter stood at Rs. 5,514 million, up 1.5% Q-o-Q and 2.9% Y-o-Y. EBITDA margin was at an all-time high of 66.0%, up 350 bps Q-o-Q and 810 bps Y-o-Y.

The Board of Directors in its meeting held today, has approved and taken on record the unaudited consolidated financial results of Dish TV India Limited and its subsidiaries for the quarter ended June 30, 2020.

1Q FY21 Highlights
  • Operating revenues of Rs. 8,356 million
  • Subscription revenues of Rs. 7,915 million
  • EBITDA of Rs. 5,514 million
  • EBITDA margin at 66.0% 
  • PAT of Rs. 745 million

Harnessing the Digital Edge

For many, the spread of COVID-19 could have been even more catastrophic had it not been for technology.

With a virtually end-to-end digital infrastructure, Dish TV India Limited was reasonably well placed to make way through the challenges thrown by the pandemic. Thanks to consistent investment in digital technology and resources over the years, Dish TV India's business was running throughout the countrywide lockdown. Harnessing its digital edge, Dish TV India successfully and well in time developed an in-house app to enable its call-centre agents to switch to work-from-home. The step was extremely critical to ensure that subscribers don't miss out on their television programmes and that the revenue and retention function of call-centres was not hampered.

The DTH Company leveraged its technological edge to help its distributors and customers move to a fully digital recharge mode. Aided by Do-it-Yourself tools, AI-enabled chatbots and on-screen guides, contactless home-delivery/installation of consumer premises equipment, online recharge and contactless service experience became a reality in the shortest possible time.

Using the right tools, employees were able to connect and collaborate with both internal and external stakeholders, thus giving real time feedback and formulating reports.

Renewals and recharges using digital mediums constituted bulk of the subscriptions received by the Company. Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and e-wallets witnessed further growth in their popularity during the quarter, becoming the preferred digital payment mode for subscribers.

Going digital whole hog also accelerated the maturity of Dish TV's OTT app, 'Watcho'. The in-house OTT platform not only leveraged its inventory of indigenous web series to launch multiple new originals but also established itself as an important connection between the DTH platform and its subscribers.

Mr. Anil Dua, Group CEO, Dish TV India Limited, said, “We believe that subscribers who download 'Watcho' are generally stickier on the DTH platform than those who haven't tried the app yet. From just a million plus subscribers in January 2020, Watcho crossed the 10 million+ members mark in August this year and we hope to double this number very soon. Our plan to make 'Watcho' a platform offering multi-lingual content should certainly help boost the count.”

Performance during the Quarter

Overall, the Company continued to reach out to new subscribers while staying connected with its existing subscriber base some of whom demonstrated an erratic recharge behaviour due to the struggles linked to the current situation. Acknowledging the stress in the consuming class, Dish TV devised and extended pay-later schemes that gave a three day credit to eligible subscribers, deducting the amount from their next recharge. Re-connection charges were also waived off during the initial period of the lockdown.

Unlike the initial phase of the lockdown, revenues during the quarter were impacted due to a higher overall churn. In addition, the Y-o-Y decline in revenues was also due to a high base effect considering the plenty of cricket and general elections related coverage on television during the first quarter of last year.

Mr. Anil Dua, said, “We intensified our online subscriber engagement campaigns during the quarter while also continuing to keep costs under check in these uncertain times. I am glad that we could achieve a 2.9% Y-o-Y growth in EBITDA despite a challenging environment. I am thankful to every employee at Dish TV India for rising to the occasion and delivering their best. I would also like to thank our business partners, distributors and service associates for seamlessly adopting and implementing the new COVID-19 driven SOPs in the shortest possible time.”

Operating revenues for the quarter were Rs. 8,356 million. EBITDA at Rs. 5,514 million was up 1.5% Q-o-Q and 2.9% Y-o-Y. EBITDA margin was at 66.0%, up 350 bps Q-o-Q and 810 bps Y-o-Y. Profit after tax was Rs. 745 million as against a loss of Rs.354 million last year.

Dish TV India continued to deleverage during the quarter by meeting its debt obligations. The closing debt at the end of the first quarter was Rs. 14,742 million, down from Rs. 18,175 million in the preceding quarter. 
In a recent development CARE Ratings Limited, basis the operational and financial performance of the Company amongst others, upgraded the ratings for Dish TV India's short term bank facilities to 'CARE A4' from 'CARE D'.

NTO 2.0

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, on January 1, 2020, had notified The Tariff (Second Amendment) Order, 2020, commonly referred to as NTO 2.0 to come into force on March 1, 2020.

The Tariff Order is pending Appeals before certain High Courts and its implementation is dependent on the outcome of the said Appeals.

Dish TV India in the meanwhile has already implemented the Order to the extent it was possible pending implementation by broadcasters.

Innovations and More

Dish TV India Limited launched 'DIA' (d2h Intelligent Assistant) chatbot using the latest AI enabled technology during the quarter. 'DIA' became a single-window service query platform for d2h subscribers during the lockdown and continues to effectively handle multiple customer queries post that as well. The chatbot is designed to process user requests and queries 24x7 and is enabled with a highly sophisticated machine learning system that provides accurate and personalized customer service through a constant process of self-evolution and learning.

Dish TV India had announced media and entertainment (M&E) industry's first hackathon way back in 2018 and had vowed to come back with a bigger and better version seeing its success and value addition back then.

During the quarter, Dish TV announced and successfully held the second edition of India's largest M&E industry hackathon, the 'Dish-a-thon 2020'. This time, due to the pandemic, the 48 hours long hackathon was held online and young innovators/disruptors/startups/students and developers across India were invited to come up with innovative ideas for a better TV/entertainment experience. Participants were given an opportunity to interact with industry experts and work with designated mentors to seek guidance and encouragement. 949 teams with more than 1500 participants showcased their technical prowess with the winning teams offering solutions for enhancing user experience, automation using AI and ML and increasing user engagement with the platform.

The Year Ahead

The COVID-19 linked disruption is certain to show up in the future performance of companies across sectors. However, with the basic importance of television in most households, the going should be easier for the TV distribution industry including for Dish TV India Limited.

Mr. Jawahar Goel, CMD, Dish TV India Limited, said, “With extreme unpredictability all around, we are more cautious than ever before. Expecting lack of consumer confidence, we are ready with leaner more value driven packs that should come in handy to take-on the free platform as well. We however expect the consumer sentiment to be more upbeat with the commencement of the cricketing season at the end of the second quarter and remain at elevated levels all through the traditionally strong third quarter.”

Dish TV India in the meanwhile looks forward to productively channelize its strengths and keep innovating for a better customer experience.

Report By: Surbhi Shukla
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