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NDTV Q3 2005 net profit Rs 26 million; declares entertainment channel plans

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MUMBAI: Very much in line with market expectations, the Prannoy Roy promoted-NDTV Ltd today announced a net profit of Rs 26.5 million for the third quarter ended 31 December 2005, down 82 per cent from a consolidated net of Rs 148.92 million in the corresponding quarter in 2004.

On the revenue side, income registered a 29.5 per cent growth over the same quarter last year.

In a conference call to analysts and reporters while announcing the results, Roy also spelled out the future plans for his network, including foraying into the general entertainment segment. NDTV is also looking at selling a stake in its website ndtv.com, to help fund new initiatives.

As regards the quarterly results, the company's Net was eroded to a large extent due to the high quantum that went in as ESOPs for the employees that amounted to Rs 114.7 million.

Still, that is an improvement over the immediately preceding quarter when the news broadcast major posted a net loss of Rs 65 million, slipping into the red for the first time since going public as expenses on personnel surged. 

On future plans, Reuters quotes Roy as saying, "There's a lot of interest for a strategic stake in ndtv.com, and we are weighing the option of unlocking value in it right now, or six months down the line." 

The company will also launch a general entertainment channel in India, possibly over the next six months, and look at broadcasting separate regional language feeds to the big cities, the report quotes Roy as saying. 

Among the performance indicators that the company has chosen to highlight is the addition of 245 new brands and 96 new advertisers to its marketing base.

BUSINESS HIGHLIGHTS

The news broadcaster tied up with digital platforms with DirecTV (USA), BSkyB (UK) and ATN (Canada) to launch the English news channel NDTV 24x7. With this, NDTV's global presence now extends across four continents.

NDTV's marketing and sales subsidiary, NDTV Media has entered into a strategic tie-up with MSN to represent and market MSN in India. NDTV has also entered into the e-commerce business with the formal launch of ndtvshopping.com.

Earlier, this year, NDTV LTD marked its foray into radio through its subsidiaries, NDTV News LTD, together with the infotech company Value Labs, Malaysian broadcaster Astro. The company has acquired a minority stake in three radio companies that hold licenses for FM radio broadcasting in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata under the brand name of Red FM. The company entry into the radio venture has happened at a time when the licensing regime for radio has liberalised considerably, making efficiently run radio ventures profitable.

This is a significant step as NDTV develops into a multimedia company.

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