Zee News Ltd. will still have the largest news footprint, beating rivals such
as Network18 Group, TV Today, NDTV and Star News. That, however, does not reflect
on the revenue front as Zee News, the flagship channel, is not the leader in the
Hindi news genre. The news business fetched a revenue of Rs 1.8 billion for the
fiscal ended March 2009 and Rs 1.1 billion during the first half of FY'10.
will have to continue incubating Zee 24 Gantalu (Telugu news channel) and Zee
News UP. Zee News (Hindi general news channel), Zee Business (Hindi business news
channel) and Zee Taas (Marathi) are profitable but scaling up will be the main
focus. The two other channels the company is involved in is 24 Ghante (Bengali
news channel where it has a joint venture stake) and Zee 24 Ghante Chhattisgarh
will have to build multiple growth engines down the road. Crucial would be the
English news channel launch, a space that is already occupied with some authority
by Times Now, CNN IBN and NDTV 24x7.
the new order where ZNL gets to exist as a pure play news organisation, the plan
will be to launch city-centric and regional channels. The incremental cost of
these channels will be low and ZNL could discover joint venture partners down
the road. The company also could scale up its franchisee model, though it is not
an easy path to travel far and wide.
expansion route through these channel launches, however, may not be viable at
this stage as carriage fee costs have become exorbitant.
ZNL investors, though, need not bother as they will get Zeel shares in line with
the share-swap ratio that will be announced by 29-30 October. The ZNL scrip, in
fact, is expected to climb temporarily due to this. The task cut out for the management
is to sustain this momentum as ZNL's market cap is set for a major overhaul after
the exit of the entertainment channels.
Amid this mammoth task of building
a news empire, guess what? The game can change quickly if ZNL gets a strategic