India’s rush towards digital broadcasting, and pay-TV in particular, shows no sign of slowing. Bharti-owned Airtel TV added almost 1 million new subscribers to its DTH service (for the year to March 31st).
The extra subscribers also transformed the financial health of the business, and improved revenues translated into a 638 per cent jump in EBITDA and a jump from last year’s (2012) 2.8 per cent margin to 16.1 per cent in this most recent trading period.
Airtel Digital TV’s overall subscriber base has improved from 8.1 million in the previous year to 9.01 million at March 31st.
However, price competition in the market generally as well as viewers signing up for smaller packages meant that ARPU rates fell marginally to 203 Rupees from 207 Rupees (at Q3/2014). Last September saw ARPUs of 198 Rupees.
Bharti’s DTH platform offers both standard and high definition digital TV services with 3D capabilities and Dolby surround sound. Airtel currently offers a total of 400 channels including 19 HD channels and 3 interactive services.