Zee News Q1 net drops 7.8% on weaker ad rev

MUMBAI: Zee News Ltd (ZNL) has reported a 7.8 per cent fall in consolidated net profit for the fiscal first-quarter, hurt by a dip in advertising revenue as the cricket World Cup and the Indian Premier League (IPL) attracted advertisers.

The net profit for the three months ended June 2011 stood at Rs 50.9 million, pulled down by a 3.5 per cent drop in advertising revenue as many product categories that advertise on the news channels went through a slowdown phase. The slide was somewhat halted by a control in expenses.

Said ZNL managing director Punit Goenka, “The new financial year has started slowly, but considering that the industry de-grew, ZNL has done well to match up with Q1 FY11. Incidentally, ZNL had an exceptionally good Q1 in the last year. In this quarter, the monies got diverted to sporting events, thereby upsetting budgets for other genres including news. We had anticipated this slowdown and had planned accordingly."

Operating revenue declined 1.8 per cent to Rs 636.6 million from Rs 648.5 million a year ago.

Expenses also fell 1.3 per cent to Rs 560 million, compared with Rs 567.3 million in the earlier year. Ebitda for the first quarter stood at Rs 76.6 million, 5.8 per cent down from Rs 81.2 million.

Said ZNL CEO Barun Das, “While ZNL experienced some slowdown in revenues due to some critical spending product categories being under the weather, our cost effectiveness stood us in better stead compared to the industry in terms of healthy balance sheet."


  ZNL‘s advertising revenue fell to Rs 436.4 million, as against Rs 452.2 million.

Among the expenses, the cost of goods and operations and other expenses fell. However, it was offset by a 14.7 per cent rise in the employee cost.

ZNL posted Ebitda profit of Rs 139 million from its existing business (Zee News, Zee Business, Zee 24 Taas, Zee Punjabi and 24 Ghanta). However, in the earlier year, Ebitda was stronger at Rs 208.3 million.

The company, however, managed to narrow the Ebitda loss from its new businesses (Zee 24 Ghantalu, Zee News UP) to Rs 62.5 million. This was mainly because of discontinuation of Zee Tamil on 31 March 2011. In the year-ago period, the Ebitda loss from the new business was Rs 127.1 million.

The company, however, expects the environment for revenue from the news business to improve. Said Goenka, "Going forward, the news genre looks likely to recover traction with eclectic properties that would be seen as viable spending options. In the meantime, the company recently has adopted a new identity infusing freshness in its look and the market has responded enthusiastically to it."

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