Television

Slowdown hurts TV18, Q1 net loss at Rs 242.5 million

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MUMBAI: The economic downturn continues to hurt news channels even in the first quarter of the fiscal. TV18 has slumped into net loss of Rs 242.46 million, compared to a profit of Rs 126.60 million a year ago, as revenue has slowed with companies cutting advertising spending in a recession-ridden market.

TV18, which owns and operates business news channels CNBC TV18 and CNBC Awaaz, has seen a 24.53 per cent decline in the first-quarter revenue to Rs 568.57 million, as against Rs 753.35 million in the corresponding quarter of the previous year.

Operating expenses stood at Rs 471.20 million, as against Rs 469.65 million in the first quarter of FY'08.

Says TV18 MD Raghav Bahl, "While our business news channels have continued to build on their dominant positions in the face of new launches, revenues have yet to recover fully.?

On a consolidated basis, TV18 posted a net loss (profits after tax and before minority interest and ESOP charge out) of Rs 416.35 million for the quarter ended 30 June 2009. This is higher than the year ago loss of Rs 57.65 million.

The consolidated results include financials of Web18, Newswire18 and Infomedia18.

Consolidated revenue for the quarter went up by 15.41 per cent to Rs 1.07 billion, as against Rs 929.92 million in the previous fiscal. Operating expenses surged 41.46 per cent to Rs 1.04 billion (from Rs 732.31 million).

Says Bahl, ?We are happy to report an incipient turnaround in the company's operations, after two extra-ordinarily tough quarters."

Web18, which houses the web properties of the group including in.com, has reported a net loss of Rs 88.23 million as against a net loss of Rs 81.41 million. Revenue from operations were up marginally at Rs 142.10 million, from Rs 131.58 million in the same period of the previous fiscal.

?Web18 has cut its operating losses sharply, as it moves out of investment phase. In.com, Moneycontrol.com and ibnline.com have strengthened their leadership positions, while other portals are acquiring new audiences,? says Bahl.

Newswire18, on the other hand, has shown a 65.55 per cent rise in revenue at Rs 74.48 million (against Rs 44.99 million). The net loss of the company came down to Rs 14.37 million in the quarter, as compared to Rs 38.04 million.

?Newswire18 revenues have been buoyant, and its operations are close to breaking even,? adds Bahl.

Infomedia18 has posted a revenue of 288.12 million and operating loss of Rs 21.97 million. The net loss (before minority interest) was at Rs 71.30 million.

Says Bahl, ?Infomedia18's operations have been restructured, cutting down operational losses to a fraction of earlier levels. Forbes India has generated a strong launch momentum with paid copies and subscription numbers tracking ahead of business plan. We are satisfied that the operational turnaround is proceeding according to our expectations."

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