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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Siti Cable sees subscriber base doubling by March

This story first appeared in DNA Money edition on Saturday, Jun 1, 2013.

Siti Cable Network, which reported a 352% year-on-year increase in consolidated operating profit for the fiscal 2013 to Rs 86.96 crore, is looking to double its subscriber base to six million in fiscal 2014.

Total revenue at the multi-system operator for the last fiscal increased 33% to Rs 483.66 crore.
V D Wadhwa, chief executive officer, Siti Cable, said, “We are planning to grow the subscriber base  over 100% this fiscal.”

The new subscribers will largely come from the cities under Phase II of digitisation in addition to some of the Phase III locations where the company enjoys monopoly.

The company also exceeded its target of touching 2.5 million subscribers, closing the last fiscal with an subscriber base of 3 million.

Wadhwa said the company has taken several key steps like providing own-your-customer (OYC) system, carriage revenue share, training for business partners and customer education to ensure smooth transition to the digital regime.

“We have made a conscious effort to align our people, processes and technological upgradation more closely with our business strategy, thereby giving ourselves the best chance to capture emerging opportunities in the industry especially broadband, value-added services (VAS), etc,” he said.

During the fiscal, the company consolidated its presence in the country by expanding in the central, western and eastern regions.

Sanjay Goyal, chief financial officer, Siti Cable, said there is concerted understanding among major digital cable players and everyone is working towards expanding their reach on the ground.

“Digital Addressable System (DAS) cities and towns are getting stabilised gradually and we are already seeing majority of the collections for the first three to four months starting to flow into the system. While pricing has been increased, we expect it getting reflected either in June or July. Also tier-based pricing (ranging from Rs 100 plus taxes to Rs 267 plus taxes) has been finalised, which will be implemented in the next few months,” he
said.

This apart, Siti is also pursuing expansion in the regions it is currently present through joint venture and partnerships.

The company has presence in 60 DAS cities, of which 20 have already been covered in Phase I and II.

The rest are in the subsequent phases of digitisation.

Of its overall revenue, close to 65% comes from carriage/bandwidth charges.

“This year, however, it has come down to 45%, and close to 20% is from set-top-box activation and the balance from subscription that grew almost 300% last fiscal, mainly due to DAS invoicing and collections being done in Phase I and II cities,” said Goyal.

Siti Cable currently enjoys an average revenue per user (Arpu) of Rs 104, net of local cable operator’s share of revenue.

The weighted Arpu, according to company, is Rs 175, of which 33% is shared with the local cable operator.

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