MUMBAI: Digitisation of cable TV services in major cities has helped broadcasters improve their income from subscriptions in the third quarter ended 31 December, 2013, but the cap on advertising has hit some of them badly as the regulation got implemented at the beginning of the quarter.
The advertising revenues of the industry rose by about 10 per cent in the third quarter, largely on account of robust growth at general entertainment channels (GECs), according to analysts.
Sun TV saw its advertising revenue fall 7.2 per cent on year to Rs 272 crore in the third quarter, as the cap on advertising hurt the leading television network from south India. The fall in Sun TV’s advertising revenue was despite an increase in advertising rates, analysts said.
GroupM’s Senior Director, Analytics, Central Trading Group, Harsh Deep Chhabra, says news channels are expected to take a bigger hit than the GECs because of the ad cap. While the impact of the advertising cap on news channel could be as high as up to 35 per cent, it could be 10-15 per cent on GECs.
Zee Entertainment Enterprises’ ex-sports advertisement revenue growth was more than 20 per cent year on year, due to gains in market shares and launch of new channels.
Barring the short-term impact of reduction in advertising inventory, advertising spends on television are expected to grow in healthy double digits over the next many years, according to Zee Entertainment Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Punit Goenka.
The advertising revenue growth at Zee Media, which has a group of general and business news channels, was 3.1 per cent at Rs 61.39 crore in the third quarter, against its subscription revenue growth of 21.6% at Rs 270 crore.
The third quarter had seen relaunch of Zee News channel with refreshed programming and look.
TV18 Broadcast’s consolidated advertising revenues grew 3 per cent year on year, as entertainment channels led by Colors and MTV delivered strong double digit advertising revenue growth. Advertising environment for news and infotainment continued to be sluggish.
In the first half of 2013-14 too, advertising revenues at TV18 Broadcast had grown by 3 per cent year on year, with the advertising revenues at Colors growing by more than 15 per cent.
Sun TV’s subscription revenues rose 27% year on year to Rs 167 crore in the third quarter, basically driven by a 45.9% increase in analogue subscription revenue and a 19.6% rise in direct-to-home subscription revenue. The company expects robust growth in subscription revenue to continue as the full benefits of phase I and Phase II digitisation of cable TV are yet to be reflected as Chennai and Coimbatore are yet to be fully digitised.
The Chennai-based broadcaster’s operating profit margin came under pressure because of higher cost of content, in addition to a decline in advertising revenue. Multiple non-fiction shows telecast during the quarter led to a 428 basis points year-on-year contraction in operating margin to 73.6%, according to a results update by Angel Broking.
It said Sun TV management expects content cost to go down in the next quarter as no non-fiction shows are planned to be telecast in the fourth quarter of 2013-14.
TV18’s net distribution income (subscription revenues minus carriage/placement fees) continued to grow steadily. In the third quarter, the net distribution income was Rs 43.6 crore, a growth of 145 per cent year on year.
Zee Entertainment’s subscription revenues were up 11.4 per cent year on year to Rs 456.50 crore in the third quarter. The company’s domestic subscription revenues grew by 12.2 per cent year on year to Rs 332.20 crore in the third quarter.
ZEE Media’s subscription revenue was up 21.6 per cent year on year at Rs 270 crore in the third quarter.
New Delhi Television did not provide a break-up of its revenues from its broadcast operations. The news broadcaster said its Hindi news business remains buoyant with NDTV India reporting robust revenue growth. NDTV only said its revenues from broadcast operations in the third quarter were up 22 per cent year on year at Rs 131.02 crore.
B.A.G. Films & Media reported improved a 29.1 per cent year on year rise in operating revenue to Rs 23.60 crore in the third quarter. The break-up of the revenue was not available.
TV18 Broadcast reported its highest ever quarterly operating profit at Rs 77.5 crore, up 61 per cent year on year. Its net distribution income continued to grow steadily. In the third quarter, the net distribution income was Rs 43.6 crore, a growth of 145 per cent year on year.
On a proforma basis, including the results of ETV Entertainment, TV18 Broadcast’s operating profit was Rs 108.1 crore. ETV Entertainment reported a sharp reduction in losses compared to the previous two quarters as programming and marketing investments made in the first half led to an upswing in ratings and revenues.
NDTV’s reported Rs 3.29 crore of operating profit in the third quarter against an operating loss of Rs 1.98 crore a year ago.
B.A.G. Films too had an operating profit (of Rs 8.56 crore) in the third quarter against operating loss of Rs 1.51 crore a year earlier.
Zee Entertainment’s operating profit in the third quarter was Rs 290.70 crore, up 11.3 per cent despite operating profit margin contracting to 24.5 per cent from 27.8 per cent a year ago.
Sun TV’s operating profit fell 1.1 per cent year on year to Rs 372 crore in the third quarter, as its revenues were impacted by fall in advertising revenue and increase in content cost due to reality shows.