TV Today’s print plans

MUMBAI: TV Today Network will hold a strategic investment of 13 per cent in Mail Today Newspapers and plans to also directly pursue print expansion in the languages segment.

The company, which owns and operates a clutch of news channels including Aaj Tak and Headlines Today, has already paid Rs 370 million out of the deal amount of Rs 455 million.

“The investment in Mail Today is strategic. The print expansion plan will be outside this,” a source close to the company said.

Mail Today, a daily newspaper in compact format, is a joint venture between the India Today Group and Daily Mail of London.

  TV Today is researching into how it can expand into print. It plans to get into regional language newspapers, the source added.

TV Today chief executive officer G Krishnan was not available for comment.

The company had earlier acquired the radio business of Radio Today Broadcasting, a promoter group company, for a valuation of Rs 1.2 billion.

Some media analysts feel cracking the newspaper language markets will be very difficult as there are existing players strongly entrenched in them.

”We are unhappy with the radio acquisition, especially due to the high valuation. It is better if TV Today launches regional news channels rather than entering print (a high gestation period business) or the radio space (a highly competitive and extremely small revenue potential media vertical). The entry into radio and print could be value destructive,” an analyst at a broking firm said.

A media observer, however, said the revenue and valuation potential would be much higher in case of print. “They will expand into regional news channels as well. They are waiting for the right time.”

TV Today’s consolidated second-quarter Ebitda turned negative for the first time in 24 quarters as revenue dipped 6.6 per cent while expenses climbed. Net loss for the three-month period ended September 2010 stood at Rs 76 million. The company, however, is expected to post a strong revenue growth in the third quarter and be profitable.

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