NDTV Profit close to breakeven: Roy

NEW DELHI: NDTV Profit is poised to breakeven in slightly over a year's time (NDTV Profit launched on 17 January 2005) even as its parent, NDTV Ltd, continues to invest in human resources and technology.

"NDTV Profit will start making profit from this financial year," NDTV LTD president Prannoy Roy said on the sidelines of a Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA) meet here. However, he refused to dwell at length on financial's of the company saying such forward-looking statements would upset the market regulator.

The acutely media-shy news media king, while speaking to journalists, also added that in a short period of time NDTV Profit has become the leader in its genre having cornered over 50 per cent of the market share.

"NDTV Profit has about 60 per cent market share (in the business news genre) and this is across all viewership segments. We are not saying that Profit is a leader in certain age bracket and certain SEC classification. The channel is doing well," said Roy.

Asked whether NDTV's financial bottomlines are getting affected, as admitted a few quarters back by the company, owing to a bloating wage bill, Roy said the company was "investing in human talent and would continue to do so in future also."

With the mushrooming of news channels and Rajdeep Sardesai leaving NDTV to set up CNN IBN and its proposed siblings along with TV18 promoter Raghav Bahl, NDTV has been a favourite poaching ground for competition.

However, Roy did admit, "We have tried to get over the problem (of high attrition rate) by giving people stock options. We see our investments (in manpower) on a long-term basis. We continue to remain the top choice of best students of media in the country and we would continue to look for depth in talent."

Asked whether he has one winning formula for news channels, the articulate Roy said it was ethics. "Ethics will lead to revenues. It's important to have good ethics," he explained.

Earlier, speaking on the impact of media on economy and politics at a session during the 26th general meeting of CBA, Roy outlined the growth of media in India and how it's helping bridge the gap between the haves and have-nots.

Dwelling on the importance of technology for the media in today's world, Roy felt that newer developments have brought down entry barriers for TV channels. As an example, he cited the falling cost over the years of leasing satellite space, which has fallen to about $ 300,000 today from a high of $ 2-3 million in the last decade.

Roy, who applauded India's economic growth as having benefited the masses in various definite ways, added that brand identification is another important aspect. "But even the barrier of a strong brand identification is beginning to loose importance with the emergence of newer brands like Google," he added.

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