India’s DTH broadcasters have long complained about the low ARPU rates charged in the sub-continent. Videocon’s d2h service seems to be remedying the problem, with its latest half-year numbers showing a significant rise is subscribers and the its all-important ARPU rates. The rises are more than timely given that Videocon is planning to spin-off its DTH service in an IPO.
The hard numbers are good. In its latest data (to October 31st) subscribers were up 21 per cent to 6.62 million) and up from 5.48 million as at March 31st last year. ARU rose from Rs 113 to Rs 135 ($2.45) a month. However, Videocon is still charging less than some of its rivals.
Indeed, these highly competitive rates are helping give Videocon something of a boom period, and the best DTH growth when compared to its rivals (TataSky, Dish TV, Airtel Digital and Sun Direct). Videocon’s DTH growth expanded 25 per cent in the period to October 31st. The other key metric was also positive in that it reduced churn to 0.89 per cent (per month), from 1.16 per cent.
Airtel’s ARPU is currently Rs 171 and Dish TV’s ARPU is Rs 154.
Next up is Videocon’s IPO (of its satellite TV arm, Bharat Business Channel) where it is expected to raise $150 million – $200 million sometime during the next few months. The proceeds will be used to fund expansion.