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India’s Dish TV posts surge in Q2 revenues

Indian direct to home (DTH) broadcaster Dish TV has posted a 48% rise in its second quarter revenues, as subscriptions to its pay-TV service grew 53% year on year.

Dish TV's total revenues now stand at INR 482.2 crore, compared to INR 326.1 crore in the same period of 2010; while subscription revenues amounted to INR412.4 crore as of the end of September 2011.

Meanwhile, the company's operating profit (Ebita) rose 142% between July and September to INR 121.8 crore, compared to INR 50.3 crore a year ago. The Ebita margin registered 25.3%.

A net loss was posted of INR48.6 crore, blamed on a foreign exchange hit of INR30.4 crore in the second quarter of the year.

"Despite being fairly insulated [from another economic slowdown], being the bread and butter of entertainment, DTH as a category was impacted by consumers' inertia to pay for discretionary spends," said Subash Chandra, chairman, Dish TV.

"While the industry recorded lower acquisitions, both on sequential and yearly basis, in the second quarter, Dish TV managed to efficiently maintain its leadership while reporting a steady increase in operating margins for the sixth consecutive quarter."

As the first to launch, Dish TV now claims a 24% market share of India's DTH market – which also includes private entities Sun Direct, Tata Sky, Airtel Digital TV, Reliance Digital TV and Videocon d2h, and the public broadcaster Doordarshan.

Executives at Dish TV see the recent government mandate on the digitisation of the country's vast cable network as providing immense opportunity, and hope to grow the platform's market share to 26% by the end of this financial year.

Jawahar Goel, managing director, Dish TV, said, "We have been the frontrunner of the Indian DTH industry since inception and have time and again demonstrated agility to adapt to a changing business environment. As challenging macroeconomic conditions prevail, we believe Dish TV remains well placed to capitalise on any resultant opportunity."

"The ARPU for high definition (HD) subscribers of INR 454 points to a window of opportunity to scale up overall ARPUs going forward. Currently, high definition contributes four to five per cent to the overall subscriber addition every month and the number is growing steadily," he said.

Goel added the company moved closer to attaining bottom line profitability in line with expectations.

Dish TV has recently announced a new entry level HD subscription deal - World Pack priced at INR 275 a month - to attract more viewers to its DTH platform.

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