Zee News Q3 operating revenue up 38.6 % at Rs 955 million

MUMBAI: Zee News Limited (ZNL) has posted operating revenue of Rs 955.3 million on a stand alone basis for the quarter ended 31 December, 2007, up 38.6 per cent as against Rs 689.1 million in the corresponding quarter last fiscal.

Zee News' stand alone net profit was 128.4 million for the third quarter of FY 08 and Rs 242.2 million on a consolidated basis.

On a consolidated basis, the company's operating revenue stood at Rs 983.1 million during the period.

Commenting on the results, Zee News Limited chairman Shubash Chandra said, "Zee News Limited has delivered a laudable third quarter performance with a growth of 38.6 per cent in operating revenues compared to the corresponding quarter. This growth has been led by a substantial increase in advertisement revenues, which have grown 48.8 per cent. The Zee News channel deserves special mention given the excellent revenue and viewership performance in the quarter.

Zee Marathi maintained its leadership position, while Zee Bangla attained the number one position in the third quarter. Channels under the 'New Business' comprising Telugu, Kannada and 24 Taas have done very well, with Zee Telugu and Zee Kannada registering a GRP growth of 93 per cent and 23 per cent respectively. With rapid transformation in the Indian media via digitization, the coming years hold a lot of promise, and we are confident of delivering long term shareholder value."

The ZNL owns and operates nine news /current affairs and regional entertainment channels namely Zee News, Zee Business, Zee Marathi, Zee Bangla, Zee Punjabi, Zee Gujarati, Zee Telugu, Zee Kannada and Zee 24 Taas.

Zee Telugu, Zee Kannada and Zee 24 Taas which are considered as 'New Businesses' have incurred an operating loss of Rs. 397.4 million during the nine months period ended 31 December, 2007.

For the period ended December 2006 'New Businesses' consisted of only two channels. Zee 24 Taas was launched in February 2007.

Zee Akaash News Private Limited – a subsidiary of the company (60 per cent equity holding) which operates 24 Ghanta, a Bangla news channel has incurred an operating loss of Rs. 6.9 million during the nine months period ended 31 December, 2007.

Zee News Limited MD Laxmi Narain Goel said, "The quarter witnessed a sound growth in all our channels. Our flagship channel, Zee News continued to grow in revenue in this over crowded genre, which is still attracting new players. Zee News remains the only pay channel in the Hindi news channel genre. The other existing businesses of Zee News Limited have also shown consistent growth, with Zee Bangla attaining the number one position. Our efforts to add value to the content of Zee Telugu, has paid off, with the channel achieving encouraging ratings during the third quarter. Overall, the results have been very satisfactory with the revenues of both existing as well as New Businesses registering a growth of 37.8 per cent and 50.6 per cent respectively."

Zee News CEO Barun Das said, "Our tremendous revenue growth is doubly encouraging given that 8 of our 9 channels are Pay channels. In addition, the pay channels have continued to grow in viewer ship as well, which will result in further revenue enhancement. Our future strategy would be to have a focused business approach for every channel, which will certainly enhance growth potential. With a slew of initiatives, we have been able to achieve both our top and bottom line targets. We are committed to scale much higher than industry benchmarks for the next quarter as well."

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