Dish: free set-tops boost take-up by half

Indian DTH operation Dish TV’s free set-top box offer has had an “immediate” effect, according to the company, producing a 50% growth in the platform’s acquisition rate.
Internal research had indicated that awareness levels for the Dish TV brand were high but the large one-off cost of the box was a “restraining factor” keeping potential subscribers from adoption. Zee now offers a free set-top box for those signing up to its maxi package for a year.

The Zee-backed operation added 400,000 new subscribers in the three months to the end of June to reach 2.9 million net subs (3.4 million gross). That addition figure represents a 41% increase on the 285,000 added in the previous quarter.

Revenues at Dish TV rose sharply in the quarter, but so too did the platform’s costs. Gross revenues stood at Rs1.64 billion, up 21% on the previous quarter as expenditure rose to Rs2.31 billion, up 18% from Rs1.95 billion in the previous quarter.

Cost of goods and expenses was up from Rs1.12 billion to Rs1.37 billion, while advertising expenses rose from Rs203 million to Rs261 million.

EBIT loss stood at Rs1.11 billion while the company’s net loss rose from Rs1.15 billion to Rs1.25 billion.

Subhash Chandra, Chairman said, “Dishtv has delivered a robust performance in terms of revenue growth and market share driven by constant innovation and world-class services. We believe in foreseeing the future and have set a new benchmark in the DTH category by launching the much awaited, Box Free Offer. Going forward, the company will continue with a strategy that focuses both on subscriber growth and revenue enhancement. This is reflecting in a healthy 20% increase in subscription revenue. The revenue enhancement has come from multiple sources, new adoptions and higher rate of renewals as well as bandwidth charges that has now built into a steady stream.”