News TV stocks weighed down by ad slowdown

MUMBAI: Shares of news broadcasters have taken a battering as they struggle to up their second-quarter revenues over the previous year amidst stiff competition and slowdown in the economy. 

NDTV has failed to buck the trend despite the buzz in the market that Time Warner is in advanced negotiations to pick up a majority in its non-news business after the exit of NBC Universal. The stock has fallen from its closing price of Rs 140.70 on the BSE (28 October, the day it announced the results) to Rs 125.85 on Tuesday.

NDTV's news business has seen a six per cent revenue drop from the year-ago period while net loss was at Rs 118.5 million. Operational cost-efficiency measures have narrowed the net loss from the prior-year period, but analysts are concerned about the revenue uptick in the subsequent quarters.

"The net cash position is close to zero, competition is intensifying at the news operations level, and the company is kicking in losses in non-news divisions as NDTV is still incubating these businesses," a media analyst said. 

A stake sale in NDTV Networks will, however, boost the scrip. NDTV Networks is the holding company for NDTV Imagine, NDTV Lifestyle, NDTV Convergence, Labs and NGEN Media Services (NDTV holds 50 per cent in this).

TV18, which runs business news channels CNBC TV18 and CNBC Awaaz, has had a bad run in the stock market after announcing its financial performance. The stock slid from Rs 90.10 on the result day to Rs 70.55 on Tuesday as TV18 posted a second-quarter net loss of Rs 246.95 million with revenue from news operations dropping 20 per cent over the previous year.

IBN18 had a similar fate on the bourses, falling from the closing price of Rs 99.60 on the second-quarter results day to Rs 78.35. The company that runs news channels CNN IBN and IBN7 had a standalone net loss of Rs 598.7 million (from Rs 175.76 million) and a 12 per cent revenue fall from the previous year.

Source : BSE India

TV Today's shares plunged from 93.55 to Rs 76.95 despite the fiscal second quarter net profit jumping 40 per cent. Income from operations, however, fell marginally by 3.51 per cent to Rs 645.45 million.

The only scrip in this genre that climbed was Zee News Ltd (ZNL) as it rose from Rs 44.30 to Rs 51.25. But this was mainly due to the announcement that ZNL shareholders would be given shares of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (Zeel) as six regional general entertainment channels move out from the company.

"The weakness of advertising revenues seems to be weighing down the scrip prices of news channels. But rebound is bound to happen and we will see an upward curve gather momentum," said the head of a broking firm.

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