Let me begin by expressing my joy in connecting with you once again andplacing the Annual Report of Dish TV India Limited for the financial year ended March 312021 before you. We began the financial year amidst a never-before-seen lockdown toprevent an upsurge in COVID 19 cases because of the pandemic. This year has been fraughtwith one of mankind's greatest challenges and I hope that you and your familycontinue to remain safe and in the best of health. Our collective resilience will ensurethat not only do we overcome this challenge but emerge even stronger from it. Your companyhas been adapting itself to the ever-changing scenario and responding while keeping thesafety and interest of all stakeholders in mind. The strict but necessary measure of thelockdown along with other precautionary measures to prevent the spread of infections havebrought some unprecedented and far-reaching changes in the way of life across all aspectsof our existence. The downside risks to the economy from the pandemic remain with slowpace of global vaccination and emergence of mutating variants. The other trends that willdrive the Indian economic story are digital penetration urbanization reforms Governmentspending infrastructure development and rebound of consumption.
Your company played a significant role by continuing to provide adedicated channel for dissemination of information pertaining to COVID-19. This was toaugment the eorts made by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in disseminatinginformation on crucial COVID-19 safety protocols and Government guidelines and encouragingpeople to adhere to the same.
Vaccination is the biggest weapon mankind has in the battle againstCOVID-19 and your company went all out to encourage viewers to get this safety net forthemselves. Going beyond communication your company announced that it would thank itssubscribers who get vaccinated by crediting one day worth of entertainment to everycustomer of Dish TV and D2H who uploads his/her details of vaccination on respective brandwebsites.
Moreover to aid patients and Covid warriors battling it in hospitalsDish TV further announced that all hospitals and nursing homes having Dish TV or D2Hconnections will get one month of free subscription. Hospitals that could not rechargetheir connections would receive the benefit upon recharge.
Your Company is a pioneer in the space of channel distribution and hasa diverse and powerful portfolio of its three Direct-To-Home (DTH) brands and a newlylaunched Over The Top (OTT) platform. The Company's OTT platform Watcho strengthensthe business portfolio and aims at focusing on the larger regional language and semi urbanmarket. It is leading the industry in providing a versatile library of owned and 3rd partycontent across various technology platforms and leveraging the connected TV as a medium todeliver innovative services. Despite facing a challenging external environment we wereable to sustain our performance without a major blip and further consolidate ouroperations to generate efficiencies and to prepare ourselves for the future.
India's M&E Industry Developments
The Indian Media and Entertainment (M&E) industry faced headwindsin 2020 due to the pandemic driven shrinkage in advertising spends restrictions on liveevents shooting film screening and depressed consumer spending affecting subscriptionrevenues. Notwithstanding the decline in size by 24% experienced during the year thelong-term prospects of the sector as one of the fastest growing sectors within thecountry and globally remain intact. This is predicated on the phenomena that the pandemichas only accelerated the trends that were driving the transformation and explosive growthof the sector. Be it shift towards on-demand interactive and user-generated content orpersonalization or digitalization of platforms and payments these have only deepenedbecause of the pandemic.
The industry has used the opportunity of the digital contentconsumption rush to introduce paywalls and subscription models. This has brought thedigital platforms whether OTT or online websites at par with the traditional segments interms of monetization. The country's advantage in this space stems from itstraditions of storytelling and the diversity of narratives. The players who will succeedin tapping this need for stories by offerring contextualized content and leverage thecapability to tell them engagingly by reaching out to the world are likely to take thesector to newer heights.
In the distribution space proliferation of smart devices penetrationof wired and wireless broadband deeper into the hinterland and high speeds oered byupcoming 5G networks will drive the user behaviour and habits. The industry is alreadyevolving new distribution models and monetization strategies across devices to addressthese changes. Although the ever-changing trends in the industry have opened up severalgrowth opportunities the shift in consumer demand for personalization is implyingconstant pressure on entertainment companies to drive innovation and embrace newtechnologies.
Dish TV has a pan India distribution network and has established strongfoothold in semi urban and rural areas. With a diverse offering of products and serviceswe are one of the preferred entertainment brands in the country. The first mover advantagecontinues to play a major role in rural and semi-urban areas where the brand acceptabilityis much better and is almost synonymous with the category.
Our Company has always innovated and launched the best-in-classtechnology to meet the needs of the subscribers to access linear as well as non-linearcontent on their television sets. In this direction we have launched Android poweredhybrid HD set-top boxes called Dish SMRT Hub and D2H Stream for Dish TV and D2H brandsrespectively. We have associated with the leading players in the OTT and entertainmentspace like Amazon Prime Video Zee5 Sony Liv You Tube Eros Now MX Player HungamaWatcho etc. to bring their services on these devices.
Watcho our in-house OTT platform has already seen more than 25Millions of downloads and has started generating revenue through subscription model. Thisplatform will enable us to capture a larger wallet share and screen share of existingsubscribers and also tap new user demographics. The innovation to allow users to createtheir own content on Watcho can differentiate us from the other OTT players and also helpin making this application a one-stop shop for all entertainment needs for oursubscribers. There is a continuous pressure on retention of subscribers due to variousalternates available for entertainment at various price points. There is a huge push foronline contemporary content provided by various paid / free OTT platform attracting youthand students across the income strata. Various regulatory changes in the past 3 years havealso created lot of behaviour change in the manner in which television content is beingconsumed. This has resulted in widespread upheavals and heterogeneity in the consumptionpattern.
In terms of performance FY21 was a mixed bag. Due to consciousconstraints on marketing spending the Company did not attract enough new subscribers tocompensate for the higher churn in existing subscribers a result of pandemic influencedconsciousness in curtailing expenses. This impacted the subscription revenue which saw asmall drop of 6.4 per cent during the year under review. However due to our focus onoperational efficiencies we increased our EBIDTA margins from 59.2 per cent to 62.1 percent. In absolute terms the EBITDA for the year was ` 20170 million. PBT beforeexceptional item declined from ` 1282 million in FY2019-20 to ` 823 million due toincreased depreciation. However the Company's net loss was significantly lower than` 16548 million recorded in FY2019-20 due to much lower impairment of goodwill related toD2H acquisition. The reported net loss for the year 2020-21 was ` 11899 million. TheCompany continued to reduce its debt with improved cash flows and has shaved o morethan ` 10 billion from the total borrowings.
Even as we see COVID subsiding we may continue to see its latentimpact on different sectors and in different ways. In a connected world layers ofinsulation are thin at best and mostly non-existent. While the future has always had adegree of uncertainty what is certain is that people and organisations will have to benimble and light-footed to thrive in the fast paced changes we may expect to see.Technology being vital to the customer proposition our Company will continue to invest innew and advanced technologies to enable subscribers to watch content anywhere anytime. Webelieve that the growth will be majorly driven by increasing subscriptions from connectedTVs and the growth in Pay TV such as DTH will be driven by content innovation and productofferings. We will continue to collaborate with technology partners for carrying out theenhancements for our connected devices maintain and enter into strategic partnership andcollaboration with leading players in the OTT and entertainment space to bring best inclass entertainment to our customers.
With the market environment improving we will do our best to regainthe title of the fastest growing DTH brand by leveraging the diverse strengths of ourmulti-brands viz. "Dish TV" "D2H" and "Zing". The focuswill also be shifting our existing subscribers to our premium offerings to ensure we donot lose them to direct digital subscriptions. Watcho will be another anchor for us tocompete against the pure OTT platforms and also increase our addressable market. In ourstrategy we will keep the customer first and build our offerings around their behaviourhabits and needs. To achieve success in doing so we will continue to invest in evolvingtechnologies to that would best fulfil their needs. The special packages and zerohuman-touch services offered to counter COVID-19 pandemic will continue as the situationhas not become completely normal. We seek to leverage and enhance our brand to strengthenour presence in the direct-to-home broadcasting services sector and develop new customerand industry relationships. We will endeavour to improve upon these by responding tocustomer feedback and adopting the latest technology in make the interactions mostefficient.
I take this opportunity to thank all the Shareholders including ourSubscribers Central and State Government bodies Ministry of Information andBroadcasting TRAI and other Regulatory authorities Investors and Business associatesfor continued faith in us. I also thank my colleagues on the Board for their valuablecontribution and all the employees for their constant eorts towards growth of theorganisation.
Your trust has been our biggest inspiration. I thank you all and lookforward to your continuous support and co-operation. Stay entertained at home!