Siti Networks’ digital subs base crosses 10 mn, Q4 EBITDA falls
MUMBAI: Essel Group-owned multi-system operator (MSO) Siti Networks’ consolidated net loss for the fiscal fourth quarter has widened to Rs 64.92 crore compared to Rs 1.47 crore a year ago. In the preceding quarter ended 31 December, net loss stood at Rs 33.16 crore. The company’s EBITDA fell 29.3% year-on-year (YoY) to Rs 58 crore. Consolidated revenue from operations fell 4% YoY to Rs 325.52 crore.
Carriage sharing, pay channel and related costs increased marginally to Rs 160.89 crore in the quarter ended 31 March 2017 from Rs 160.27 crore. The company added 8 lakh cable TV customers during the quarter to take its digital cable TV subscriber base to 10 million. The MSO also added 40,000 HD customers during the quarter to take its HD subscriber base to 160,000. Broadband subscribers increased to 228,000 during the quarter from 213,000, while homes passed jumped to 16.1 lakh from 15.7 lakh.
The company’s net loss for the full fiscal widened to Rs 179.23 crore from Rs 41.29 crore a year ago. EBITDA declined 18% to Rs 202.8 crore in FY17. Consolidated revenue stood at Rs 1204 crore in FY17, up 18% YoY.
Carriage sharing, pay channel and related costs rose to Rs 597.13 crore as against Rs 568.64 crore in FY16. Subscription revenues recorded 39% growth at Rs 569 crore. Carriage revenue also grew by 17% to Rs 300 crore in FY17.
The company’s cable universe during the fiscal increased to 13.2 million from 12.2 million. Broadband revenues doubled to Rs 97 crore in FY17 from Rs 48.6 crore. During the quarter under review, Siti launched new broadband plans that offer up to 40 GB data every day @ 50 Mbps.
Due to litigation, there has been a delay in the implementation of Phase III digitisation, which resulted in lower than planned seeding of set-top boxes (STBs) and monetisation. Despite the delays, company added more than 2.1 million digital customers, taking the digital video base to 10 million. Starting the new fiscal year on a strong note, Siti has already seeded more than one million boxes in April and May 2017, expanding footprints across existing markets and contiguous territories.
Welcoming the new tariff order, the MSO noted that once the legal hurdles are cleared, the implementation of the tariff order is expected to synchronise the value chain to the requirements of the end consumer and provide tangible freedom of choices. This will also lead to rationalisation of costs and spur growth in the sector. To further increase on-ground monetisation during the year, Siti moved to prepaid billing. More than 2000+ LCOs in 97 locations have been brought under this ambit.
Siti-dittoTV OTT services grew strongly with the addition of 29,000 customers during the quarter, taking the total customer base to 60,000. My Siti channels: Siti has bolstered its local channels content with tie-ups with Eros, Ultra, Cineprime, ADB Mobile and Entertainment, and now has a portfolio of 130+ local channels on a pan-India basis. This will ensure a rich and bespoke viewing experience for all customers. It is also looking to add 7-8 new local channels for its North India viewers under certain genres and languages.
Commenting on the results, Siti Networks executive director and CEO VD Wadhwa mentioned, “Our tenacious execution has ensured stellar growth in our video revenue, whereas broadband growth is falling short of our expectations. The management is highly committed to improving monetisation and operating profit across all phases during the current year. We are well positioned to reap the benefits of improved monetisation across phases as we simultaneously continue to expand our broadband reach.
The implementation of GST is expected to simplify the collection process, bring in greater transparency, and provide a boost to the growth of the sector.”