NDTV beats market forecast, Q4 revenue up 25%

MUMBAI: News broadcaster NDTV has beaten market expectations as it posted a 25 per cent jump in its fourth-quarter income over the earlier year and has forecast a turnaround in the full-fiscal ended 31 March 2012.

Though the news business has posted a fourfold rise in net loss for the quarter ended 31 March 2011, this is due to a one-time expense of Rs 293.8 million incurred on account of NDTV Hindu, a news-cum-infotainment channel for Chennai.

The company, which runs news channels NDTV 24X7 and NDTV India, has posted a standalone net loss of Rs 231.8 million for the fourth quarter compared to a net loss of Rs 46.3 million in the prior year.   


  "We made a provision of Rs 293.8 million for our investments in NDTV Hindu in the quarter. Our losses are showing a rise because of this," said NDTV Group CEO KVL Narayan Rao. NDTV Hindu, a joint venture between NDTV and the Hindu Group, was launched in 2009.

Income from operations for the quarter under review stood at Rs 1.08 billion, as against Rs 865 million in the year-ago period.

The standalone profit from operations (before other income, interest & exceptional items) increased to Rs 97.1 million, from Rs 11.3 million a year ago.

"We have had a healthy rise in our fourth quarter revenue from news business. This has been led by a change in the market and by a loaded news-events quarter such as the cricket World Cup, Budget and scams. We also believe that having a credible image has helped us in such an eventful quarter," said Rao.

Expenses from news operations rose 18 per cent to Rs 1.02 billion, from Rs 863.1 million.

"We expect our news business to break-even this fiscal. Our costs will be stabilising over the next six months. We also expect to see revenue growth after our alliance with Star India," said Rao.

NDTV has handed over the ad sales of its news channels to Star India, effective 1 April, after it parted ways from Raj Nayak?s Aidem Ventures.

For the full fiscal, NDTV?s standalone net loss jumped to Rs 986.3 million, from Rs 205.2 million in the earlier year. Income from operations stayed flat at Rs 3.47 billion (from Rs 3.49 billion).

Expenses jumped 11.57 in FY?11 and stood at Rs 3.96 billion as against Rs 3.55 billion in the prior fiscal.

On a consolidated basis, NDTV posted a net loss of Rs 608 million for the quarter ended 31 March 2011, as against a net profit of Rs 2.13 billion a year ago. However, in the previous year, the company had managed to post profit on the back of Rs 3.37 billion which it received for selling its stake in NDTV Imagine. NDTV also clarified that the consolidated results for the quarter and year ended 31 March 2011 are not comparable with the corresponding previous period.

Income form operations on a consolidated basis fell 6.52 per cent to Rs 1.32 billion, from Rs 1.41 billion, while total expenses reduced from Rs 2.54 billion to Rs 1.49 billion.

For the fiscal ended 31 March 2011, NDTV posted a consolidated net loss of Rs 1.74 billion, as against a net profit of Rs 1.18 billion in the earlier year. Income from operations fell to Rs 4.19 billion, from Rs 5.90 billion in the year-ago period, while expenses reduced from Rs 8.94 billion to Rs 5.25 billion.

"On a consolidated basis, we should be doing better in FY?12. In the fourth quarter, NDTV Lifestyle has broken even while in the convergence segment we have posted a small profit. We have reasonable growth expectations in the current fiscal," said Rao.

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