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Structure of DTH industry remains attractive in mid to long term, CEO Gopal Vittal 

The DTH market proposition continues to be “attractive” in the medium to long run, given the current structure, the upside opportunity from cable conversion, and current niche play of streaming services, Bharti Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal has said.

Airtel, which added about 485,000 customers in Direct-to-Home (DTH) television segment and logged a sequential revenue growth of just under 5 per cent, said it is now number two player in the DTH space.

Its Digital TV services customer base stood at 1.78 crore as on December 2020.

“In fact, one of the highlights of this business is its competitive and consistent performance. We believe, we have outstripped all other players in terms of revenue growth. We also believe that on a like-to-like basis, we are now clearly the number two player in the DTH industry,” Vittal said during an investor call post Q3 results announcement by Bharti Airtel, earlier this week.

On the outlook for DTH business, Vittal said the structure of the industry still made it “attractive” in the medium to long term.

“…the price structure in India on the linear television side is very, very low when compared to most of the markets,” he said. Moreover, the upside opportunity to convert from cable, is high.

“The price structure is such that it’s a small amount to pay to get channels that you may still want to consume along with streaming services,” Vittal said.

Also, streaming services are still a niche industry in India, given that the cost structure of streaming is contingent on more broadband penetration as also payment for the content, he said adding that DTH segment, therefore, continues to hold promise in the medium term.

The Digital TV services revenue for Airtel was at Rs 789.2 crore in the just-ended quarter.

Overall, Bharti Airtel posted its highest-ever consolidated quarterly revenue of Rs 26,518 crore in the third quarter of 2020-21, up 24.2 per cent over the year-ago period.

India’s second-largest telecom operator, Airtel, logged net profit of Rs 854 crore for December quarter against Rs 1,035 crore loss a year ago, as it witnessed improved realisations and the strong customer additions.

Robust execution yielded market share gains across businesses for Bharti Airtel in fiscal’s third quarter, as it delivered a ‘solid beat’ on revenue and profitability with 4G subscriber adds of 12.9 million and plan upgrades by customers driving realisations, said analysts.

“Bharti Airtel’s Q3 FY21 performance was exemplary with strong execution and market share win across mobile, FTTH (Fiber-to-the-home), enterprise and DTH,” ICICI Securities said in its latest note. PTI

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