After posting back-to-back losses since 2019, Dish TV CEO Manoj Dhobal believes that the firm will start reporting net profit FY25 onwards. Amidst troubles between the Dish Board and Yes Bank, Dhobal maintained that the firm has continued brick and mortar investments for the past few quarters. Last week, the firm launched Dish Smart+ service to finally take on Airtel, Jio and Tata Play. This service brings TV channels and OTT services under a singular bundle. Speaking with businessline at the launch, Dhobal laid out the DTH operator’s ambitions. Excerpts.


What is the difference between Dish TV Smart+ and competing services provided by the likes of Airtel or Tata Play?

Most competitors don’t automatically give blended products to customers. You have to either choose linear TV or opt for OTT+Linear services. We are offering all our customers an aggregation between OTT and Linear from the get go. Thus my consumer does not have to pay anything extra for consuming the OTT content. I am giving the customer the flexibility to further choose which OTT platforms they want to onboard into this plan. This is a first-to-market offering.


Broadcasters had to revise tariffs under NTO 2.0 - where are you on implementation at the distributor front, have you transferred any of these price increases to the customers? What impact has this had on your ARPU?

Most of the price increase has gone through. But we have absorbed 80-90 per cent of the price increase, it hasn’t gone to the customer. So prices have not necessarily gone up in comparison to a few years back, perhaps only by ₹10-₹15. Our ARPUs have also not necessarily changed, they have largely remained stable for the last two years. The way we have mitigated price increases for customer is by weeding out superfluous channels from their bundles. That way the overall bundle is similarly priced as before.


At this point, all DTH platforms are offering hybrid OTT bundles but large platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime are largely absent from these bundles. This is unlike the case the case that we see for telecom operators - international streaming companies to provide their service bundled with plans there. Will we see bundling between DTH plans and streaming companies any time soon?

Their strategy at this point of time is to not allow bundling with DTH companies. The reason why they bundle telcos is because those are not necessarily competitors. But I believe that as the prevalence of smart TV grows we will start to see this bundling to happen with DTH operators as well. It is only a matter of couple years.


How has the corporate governance between shareholders and Dish TV promoters impacted day-to-day management?

Efforts are being made on either side to come to a resolution. We are not privy to those talks. We are entirely customer-facing and those conflicts have not impacted day-to-day management one bit. Things have only become better than they were two three years back. Secondly, we have made a lot of investments in technology. As a result, we are getting enough EBITDA to fund our capex. There is no borrowing going on to make those investments. We are a company which has retired all its debt on the books in the month of June 2023.


Will Dish TV be profitable in FY25?

I can safely say that we will be. This year could be the year of reversal for Dish and the DTH industry overall. Even if it is slightly positive this year, there is clearly forward momentum in FY25. We also have a lot new initiatives in the pipeline.