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Dish TV adds 2 mn subscribers in FY'09, crosses 5-mn mark
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MUMBAI: Amid a welter of dismal data from the media and entertainment sector, Dish TV has mopped up an impressive 2.07 million subscribers for the fiscal ended 31 March 2009 to become the first Indian direct-to-home (DTH) operator crossing the five-million mark.

The leading DTH operator, which had added one million subscribers in the year-ago period, accelerated its growth during the fiscal with aggressive schemes including a set-top box (STB) free offer.


"We had three big spikes in the year because of our 'Happy Home,' 'free box' and 'south-centric hat-trick' offers. We also have the largest content on offer across genres and languages," explains Dish TV COO Salil Kapoor.

Dish TV gathered 113,057 subscribers last month, taking its total registered base to 5.07 million. The adoption of the DTH market category in March is around 0.55 million subscribers.

Dish TV has seen no rise in its marketing, personnel and content cost for the year, but a depreciated rupee has worsened its subsidy on set-top boxes (STBs). "We have brought down the content cost and kept tight control over our operational expenses. Our net loss per box has come down," says Kapoor, while refusing to spell out the exact figures.

The DTH operator's advertising cost would be lower at Rs 900 million as against Rs 1.02 billion in FY'08. The customer acquisition cost, though, has gone up from Rs 2000 to Rs 2500 this year.

Net sales revenue is expected to be around Rs 7.5 billion, up from Rs 4.12 billion a year ago. Dish TV had announced a revenue of Rs 5.30 billion for the first three quarters of this fiscal.

Net loss, however, would be up from its FY'08 red blot of Rs 4.14 billion. For the first three quarters, the Zee group DTH company had posted a net loss of Rs 3.98 billion.

The ARPU (average revenue per user) for the FY'09 fiscal is expected to be Rs 150, up from Rs 131 a year ago.

Dish TV, which has a footprint covering 6,600 towns across India, has maintained its leadership position in a five-player market. Sun Direct, Reliance's Big TV and Bharti's Airtel Digital TV are the new entrants while Tata Sky, a joint venture between the Tatas and Star Group, is the second largest DTH operator in the country.

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