ERROR: SIGNAL NOT FOUND
From being on every TV screen to struggling to find a space in the industry it owned at a point in time, let us decode the downward-sloping graphs of Dish TV, an old hero in the DTH industry!
In the world of Android televisions, Dish TV seems to have gotten lost in the crowd with its share prices dropping below INR 20. Established on 2nd October 2003 as a part of the Essel group, Dish TV ticked off becoming the biggest DTH network in Asia with a family of 10 million subscribers by February 2011.
Launched by the Zee network, with Mr Anil Dua serving as the CEO of the company, it had acquired major DTH networks like d2h, etc., and saw consistent growth in the decade of its birth. But sometimes, the graphs tend to slope downwards after soaring so high. 2016 was a prick in the eye, henceforth things started to get worse for the service provider. Will Dish TV be able to stand out in this smart crowd or will it be the name of a past?
Dish TV was a huge market player till 2016, but the subsequent quarters saw a sum of liabilities overpowering the worth of assets. What could have been the reasons for such a drastic decline?
Struggle to get a Signal
With Tata Sky and other service providers entering the DTH market, Dish TV lost the tag of being the hero in the market. Share prices declined by 39% from being as high as Rs. 118 in August 2015 to Rs. 72 in February 2016. If one wants to catch a big fish, one needs to throw in considerable bait. But what if there is no big fish present in the pond? All that risk is worth no gain. Because of its declining stock prices and the innovation brought in by the new brands, Dish TV started bleeding out customers. Moreover, with online streaming platforms entering the market and becoming popular during the pandemic, Dish TV started reporting huge losses. In the Jan-Mar quarter of FY 2022, the company booked losses as huge as Rs. 2,032 crores and its revenue declined by 14.5% to Rs. 642.70 crores.
Blackouts: fight for the stake
Dish’s rivalry with Nexstar, a TV station led to history’s largest blackout (3 weeks) in the DTH industry with more than 160 channels showing a “NO SIGNAL” error box on Dish’s subscribers’ screens. And no one was going to wait to watch their favourite TV show for this long, not for three weeks at least!
What's dramatic is that although Yes Bank holds approximately 25% stake in Dish TV, it has engaged in a tussle of power with the Dish TV officials. In the past, the Essel group founder, Subhash Chandra had borrowed a tremendous amount of over INR 5000 crores and pledged his stake in Dish as collateral. Due to his inability to repay the borrowed amount, the ownership of pledged shares was transferred to the officials at Yes Bank.
The founders wanted to take away the bank's voting rights but lost a court battle for the same with Yes bank voting out the 2 major members from the board of directors, making the matters worse for the founder, Subhash Chandra but better for Dish as a brand. There was a rise of 20% in the share price but the increase wasn’t enough.
Power Cut: Management losing its strength
We saw a surge in the share prices but the company is still lagging with only 2 members on the Board of Directors when at least 4 are mandatory. Yes bank has voted in favour of its representatives to be a part of Dish’s BOD. With Yes Bank on the board of directors of Dish TV, predictions and analysis show that the battle’s in the hands of Yes bank and Essel group is going to lose its stake in Dish.
Will Dish ever reach the shore? (the future)
Several negative points were on the screen within a few years. With share prices as high as Rs. 130 in June 2007 to as low as Rs. 4.25 in May 2020; will the future bring relief to the tensed faces or have them talk about the brilliance of the past when everything has finally come to an end?
Dish is trying to be a competitor by adjusting to the changes with the innovations in the market. It released android set-top boxes to be a step closer to being in the smart circle where everything is available in a small TV box. With the launch of the 5G services, Dish TV has tied its fate with it and the software designed for the same has proved to be cost-efficient and can give Dish an edge over the competitors. As highlighted above, its consumer network is losing users, so Dish hopes that wholesaling its network's coverage, speed, and security for other companies' use will propel its future growth. The share prices have been showing up and down arrows but it surely has started to improve with an increase of around 75% from February 2020 to September 2022, yet it's standing so far away from where it began. With all that's cooking, we can only wait until we decide whether we will be served with a good 'Dish' or not.
The Economics Times
Author: Mananpreet Kaur Uppal
Illustration by: Muskan Bansal