TV Today awarded P1+ rating by CRISIL

NEW DELHI: CRISIL, India?s leading rating agency has awarded P1+ rating to TV Today Network Limited (TVTN) for Rs 150 million Commercial Paper programme.

This is the highest possible rating that is assigned by the agency for a debt programme, and has been awarded to TVTN due to the strong business position of its flagship Hindi news channel Aaj Tak, which has been dominating the Indian news channel scenario for the past two years.

This rating also reflects the company?s profitability and healthy capital structure, which is driven by the management?s sound financial policy and business practices, according to a company statement.

Though TV Today Network CEO G. Krishnan yesterday denied to that the company has any plans to go public in the immediate future, the market buzz from India's financial capital, Mumbai, is that TVTN is actually preparing the ground for an initial public offer.

"There are no immediate plans to go public, but we are working on it. These speculations are there as we had said earlier that the company may go public after three years. Since we have completed three years, the market is talking about it as if it would happen tomorrow," Krishnan explained.

With a reach of more than 30 million households, strong content and modern technological infrastructure, Aaj Tak has emerged as the country?s leading news channel with the highest viewership share, which has translated into higher revenues. The company?s revenue base has grown from Rs120 million to over Rs1 billion within a short span of two years. The rating also reflects the growing viewership base for news channels and TV's increasing share of 

the media advertising pie, the official statement said.

Notwithstanding these business strengths, TVTN?s business risk profile remains moderated by its focus on the niche news segment and its dependence on Aaj Tak as its key revenue driver. While the company has launched a second news channel Headlines Today to diversify its revenue base, this channel?s viewership share and consequent revenue-generating potential is only expected to grow over the medium term.

Going forward, CRISIL expects that competition in the news channel market to intensify with the entry of new channels such as NDTV India & NDTV 24x7, Sahara Samay and Star News (in its new, all-Hindi format). While this may have a fairly strong impact on the company?s viewership share, Aaj Tak is likely to maintain its leading position in the short to medium term driven by its well-entrenched brand equity and wide reach.

Promoted by the Aroon Purie-controlled India Today Group, TV Today Network is the corporate entity behind Aaj Tak and Headlines Today.

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