NDTV's news biz rev up 14% in tough quarter

MUMBAI: In a tough quarter, NDTV‘s news business has swung into net profit due to a 14.21 per cent jump in revenue.

Income from news operations rose to Rs 849.3 million from Rs 743.6 million a year ago. In this quarter, NDTV handed over its ad sales management to Star India.

"We did special projects like Greenathon. The quarter also saw strong subscription growth. Star‘s handling of our ad sales has also started yielding results because of their network strength," said a senior executive who did not want his name to be revealed.

NDTV‘s ad sales performance under Star will be under better judgement from the second quarter onwards as it has grown out of the transition phase.

"For news channels, it is important to rope in a new set of advertisers," said Star India ad sales president Kevin Vaz.

NDTV posted standalone net profit of Rs 98.1 million for the three-month period ended 30 June, compared with a net loss of Rs 241.2 million.
  The turnaround in net profit is, however, after taking into account a dividend income of Rs 191 million from a subsidiary, NDTV One Holdings, and other operating income of Rs 71.7 million due to another subsidiary arm.

“The financials of the business have turnaround this quarter on the back of a wider portfolio of income and lower dependence on ad revenues,” NDTV said.

NDTV suffered a loss from operations (before other income, interest & exceptional items) of Rs 43.3 million, compared with loss of Rs 203 million a year ago.

Expenses rose to Rs 1 billion from Rs 962 million in the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal.

NDTV operates news channels NDTV 24X7 (English), NDTV India (Hindi) and NDTV Profit (English business).

On a consolidated basis, NDTV posted a net loss of Rs 179.8 million as against Rs 311.1 million in the year-ago period.

Operating loss of the company narrowed to Rs 179.2 million from Rs 269.7 million in the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal.

Income from operations stood at Rs 1.07 billion, up from Rs 894.2 billion a year ago. Expenses during the quarter were Rs 1.29 billion, up from Rs 1.17 billion.

"Our verticals outside news have started doing well," said the executive.

Revenue from NDTV Convergence nearly doubled compared to the first quarter of 2010 while in NDTV Worldwide it rose 82 per cent. “The business has expanded its service offerings into the regional markets across India and emerging markets in Asia. The company worked with the Beximco Group in Bangladesh to launch a world class 24 hour news and current affairs channel on 28 July 2011,” NDTV said.

NDTV Lifestyle revenues grew 40 per cent over the same quarter last year. “NDTV Lifestyle focused on preparing and setting the stage for a significant scale-up of its flagship channel, NDTV Good Times this quarter. A distribution expansion exercise is underway and several big shows are in the pilot and production stages; these will be launched at appropriate times, over the rest of the year,” the company said.

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