TV18 Broadcast returns to profitability in Q3

MUMBAI: TV18 Broadcast turned profitable in the third quarter ended 31 December on fall in operating expenditure and a small rise in operational income from a year earlier.

TV18 Broadcast, which owns news channels CNBC TV18, CNB Awaaz, CNN IBN and IBN7, reported a net profit of Rs 223 million in the third quarter against a loss of Rs 138 million a year earlier. In the second quarter of this financial year, it had reported a loss of Rs 252 million.

The company‘s operating revenue rose 5 per cent to Rs 1.47 billion in the third quarter from Rs 1.40 billion a year earlier.

The news broadcaster was able to report a profit in the third quarter as its operating expenses fell 16 per cent to Rs 1.09 billion from Rs 1.30 billion a year earlier, on lower staff costs, marketing and distribution expenses and flat production expenses.

The company‘s interest cost in the third quarter was Rs 216 million, flat compared to a year earlier but down by a sharp 51 per cent from a quarter earlier (Rs 365 million).

The fall in interest cost was a result of part repayment of debt from the large flow of funds into the company through a rights issue in the previous quarter.

Raghav Bahl, managing director, Network18, the holding company of TV18, said, "I am delighted …. that TV18 has returned to profitability this quarter. Our recast balance sheet has helped us rationalise our interest payouts."

"We are now entering an exciting phase in our journey as we strengthen our existing operations and consolidate our regional acquisition," Bahl added.

The rights issue was largely meant for the acquisition of ETV non-Telugu news and entertainment channels from Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL).

B Saikumar, Group CEO at Network18, said, "We are extremely pleased that all our broadcast operations grew their margins despite softness in the advertising environment. The News Network will further consolidate its leadership position with the addition of ETV News to the stable."

Business News operations had a strong quarter with margins expanding almost three-fold from a year earlier.

In the third quarter, revenues from business news channels were up nearly 10 per cent at Rs 780 million. Operating profit from business news was Rs 307 million, nearly three times a year earlier and two times a quarter earlier.

The significant improvement in margins in business news operations came on the back of expansion of net distribution income, the company said.

TV18‘s general news operations broke into positive territory with 10 per cent margins. In the third quarter, revenues from general news operations were Rs 723 million, nearly flat compared with a year earlier. Operating profit from general news was Rs 69 million in the third quarter against a loss of Rs 16 million a year earlier and loss of Rs 33 million a year earlier.

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