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Rights issue: Dish TV to proceed with mobilising 2nd tranche
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The promoters of Essel Group's direct-to-home (DTH) venture - Dish TV, which had come up with a rights issue of around Rs 1,100 crore-plus and raised the first tranche of Rs 310.89 crore around January 2009, will proceed with mobilising the next tranches soon.

The next block will see Rs 414.52 crore being generated, while the final chunk will see another Rs 414.52 crore being collected. The DTH market leader is also embarking on triggering a slew of value added services to fuel its "subscriber acquisition" base. The company is targeting to push up its subscriber population by another 2.5 million from the existing 5.5 million by fiscal 2009-10.

"As far as the rights issue of Rs 1,140 crore goes, we had initially picked up Rs 310.89 crore at Rs 6 per share of the Rs 22 for every share (including a premium of Rs 21 per share). This was around January 2009, when markets were not quite favourable for a full-fledged mobilisation. Now, we are going for the first call of Rs 8 per share which will find Rs 414.52 crore being mobilised. This call will close on July 30, 2009," Salil Kapoor, chief operating officer, Dish TV says.

According to Kapoor the company is also planning to go for the second call of Rs 414.52 crore at Rs 6 per share by up to July 18, 2010. "The second call is scheduled to happen 9-18 months from the application money (in January),"Kapoor said.

He said the funds flowing in from the rights issue will be mainly routed into boosting Dish TV's subscriber base. Kapoor said together with the "standard" channel fare, Dish TV is now concentrating on specialising in value added services.

"The slowdown has not had much effect on the DTH segment. By our estimate, the DTH sector is adding 700,000-800,000 subscribers every month. People may have cut down on fringe expenses and stayed back at home to watch television. In an effort to shore up our subscriber acquisition, we are in talks with both Indian and overseas channels to infuse non movie programming." Kapoor says.

He continues to explains, "This will include behind-the-scenes programmes which could give the viewer a peep into unseen episodes revolving around film shootings or the making of a movie and related content. These would be on the 'movie on demand' model."

"We are eyeing a subscriber fraternity of 7.5 million, from 5 million now, by end-FY10. In fact, the Rs 100-crore plus loss we had suffered in the quarter of December 2008 was essentially because of subsidies we are extending to subscribers," Kapoor said.

Last year, Dish TV had approved raising of Rs 1,140 crore through a rights issue, most of which was subscribed for by the founders because of a market slump. The company has raised more than Rs 300 crore in the first tranche through its rights issue.

The first company to launch DTH service in India, Dish TV is now competing with four players – Tata Sky, Airtel Digital TV, Reliance's Big TV and Sun Direct – in a highly subsidised model.

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