TV syndication biz lifts Eros up in FY'09

MUMBAI: Eros International Plc had a bad theatrical year with its film releases but stayed pre-tax profitable for the full year ended 31 March 2009 as its television syndication business to Indian broadcasters grew 94 per cent to $64 million.

Profit before tax was up seven per cent to $48.4 million on a gross turnover of $156.7 million. The company said revenue was up 38.7 per cent from $113 million a year ago.

Theatrical revenue fell from $52.1 million to $46.3 million, despite the number of releases during the year increasing to 70 (from 52 releases in 2008). Eros released 24 films globally, including Tamil and other regional movies.

Eros saw growth in revenues from international television networks and aggregators for dubbed and original versions including German, Russian, Arabic and other languages dubbed or subtitled in 24 different languages.

Says Eros chairman and chief executive Kishore Lulla, "I am delighted that Eros International has delivered strong revenue and profit growth for the third successive year, building on our core competency of content and distribution. Against a backdrop of an uncertain macro economic environment and adverse currency movements caused by the significant depreciation of the Indian rupee to the US dollar, with over 60 per cent of the Group‘s turnover coming from India, the underlying business has produced a very robust performance. The company will continue build its content portfolio and distribution network while focusing on cash conversion, effective management of costs and reducing net debt."

Revenues from new media grew by 69 per cent to $46.2million, driven largely by growth in video-on-demand deals with Comcast, Cablevision and other cable platforms, IPTV, mobile deals, DTH and internet platforms.

Aimed at giving digital revenues a big push, the company released 11 music titles in the year which were monetised through ringtones and other revenue streams.

Having already released two titles on Blu Ray format, Eros plans to release at least a further 50 titles on Blu Ray.

Eros said over 50 per cent of the Group‘s turnover came from catalogue exploitation and regional content distribution.

Eros expects cash flows to be healthy in FY‘10 as it has lined up a large slate of global releases like Kambakkth Ishq, Love Aaj Kal, Aladin, De Dhana Dhan and Veer. The production costs for the upcoming slate of movies are already substantially funded and the company aims to reduce its net debt over the next 12 months.

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