Zee will launch a new GEC towards the end of FY15, says Punit Goenka

MUMBAI: The delay in digitisation of phase III and IV markets has got even the industry giants to speak up. And adding to the list is ZEEL MD and CEO Punit Goenka who feels that the delay in digitisation will invariably have negative impacts on the overall industry.

In an interview with CNBC-TV18’s as part of the IDFC Annual India Conference, Goenka spoke about the delay in digitisation, a new GEC launch and his expectations from the advertising revenue in FY15.

 “The growth levels have slowed down for the industry and therefore for us, as well. The consumer billing has not started to happen the way it was envisaged. All this is having a negative impact on the overall industry,” he said.

When asked if the delay caused a drop in subscription revenues, Goenka explained that the dip in subscription revenues was mostly due to some accounting changes.

He elaborated, “The dip is largely on account of some accounting changes that we have had since the aggregate of paper that came out of TRAI. Like-for-like, these are flat or just low single digit kind of growth but as I said, it is attributable to the ongoing delay in the digitisation process. But I do expect that this will pick up hopefully in the next fiscal itself.”

Goenka also revealed that Zee Entertainment plans to launch a new Hindi general entertainment channel (GEC) towards the end of FY15.

“It will be in line with the cost structures of any other GEC because it is a mainstream GEC launch competing with the current incumbent players in the market. So, it will not be very different from those,” he said.

Speaking about the sports business, Goenka explained that the losses seen in the sports business were envisaged by the company and they had guided that the losses would be similar to that seen last year.

Goenka added that he expects advertising revenues to see 11-12 per cent growth in FY15 as from 8-9 per cent seen in earlier two fiscals. He said, “We have seen some improvement in the ad spends especially during the first half of the year. I do expect that the advertising revenues will be seeing healthy numbers from 8-9 per cent that we have been seeing over the past few years to 11-12 per cent.”

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