Zee Telefims announces H1 results even as scrip plunges

On the balance, the first half results of the Zee Network (of which Zee Telefilms Ltd (ZTL) is a part) are not something worth shouting about.

The network has chalked up a total income of Rs 1861 million which is a 45 per cent increase over the previous corresponding half. Operating income is up 68 per cent to Rs 901 million, while profit after tax has risen 59 per cent to Rs 588 million.

While the results for the half year seem impressive, its quarter to quarter performance is most abyssmal, with advertising revenue falling to Rs 1382.4 million as against Rs 1591.3 million in the first quarter this year. This indicates that the company is losing advertising market share to nippier rivals like Sony, Star (what with its KBC), and the plethora of new channels that have cropped up. Expenditure too quarter to quarter is down from Rs 1566 million to Rs 1413.4 million. Total income for the network is down to Rs 2274.1 million from Rs 2298 million in the previous quarter. However, profit after tax for the network is up from Rs 320 million to Rs 543.5 million.

ZTL on its part has notched up an income of Rs 1049.6 million in the quarter ended 30 September 2000, with net profit at Rs 320.5 million and its earning per share at 78 paise per Re 1 share.

According to ZTL chief executive R.K. Singh, the results could have been better. But he is optimistic of a turn around in Q3.

"We have taken the number of IRDs in the market to 21,000 for our pay TV operations. We will take it up further to 30,000 by end November. Additionally, we are also starting new programming initiatives like the Rs 100 million game show and are taking our channels into new markets like Australia and the Caribbean. These should start showing up in the third quarter results. We will be back with much better numbers," he says.

The markets on the whole do not seem to be buying ZTL chairman Subhash Chandra and his team's reassurances. The share plunged at the end of the day's trading to Rs 297, after drifting around in the Rs 310 range. To be fair to ZTL, the market too took a dive as players booked profits before the weekend and the coming Diwali season.

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