Zeel ad revenue & profit up in Q2 despite GST impact

BENGALURU: The Subhash Chandra led Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (Zeel) reported a 2.9 percent increase in advertising revenue for the quarter ended 30 September 2017 (Q2-18, current quarter) as compared to the corresponding year ago quarter (y-o-y). Zeel says in a press release that despite the adverse impact of GST on advertising, domestic advertising grew by 5.8 percent y-o-y, on a comparable basis (excluding sports, RBNL and IWPL) to Rs 9028 million.

Zeel’s net profit after tax (PAT) for the period more than doubled (2.48 times) y-o-y in the current quarter to Rs 5908 million as compared  to Rs 2384 million due the slump sale of its sports broadcasting business that resulted in a net gain of Rs 1346.1 million for the current quarter. Zeel’s subscription revenue declined 14 percent y-o-y to Rs 5014.1 million in the current quarter as compared to Rs 5833.4 million. However, adjusted for the sale of sports business, domestic subscription revenue grew by 7.2 percent to Rs. 4043 million. International subscription revenue stood at Rs 971 million. Other sales and services revenue in the current quarter was lower y-o-y at Rs 939 million as compared to Rs 1529.4 million.

Overall, Zeel’s revenue increased 2.7 percent y-o-y in Q2-18 to Rs 17,851.8 million on higher other income as compared to Rs 17,386.7 million in Q2-17. Other income in the current quarter more than quadrupled y-o-y to Rs 2031.3 million as compared to Rs 432.3 million. EBIDTA in the current quarter was almost flat y-o-y (up 0.4 percent) at Rs 4912 million as compared to Rs 4892 million.

Company speak

Zeel chairman Subhash Chandra said, “We are now a 25 years old organisation and it is with great satisfaction and pride that I look back at this journey and the numerous milestones we have achieved. Starting as India’s first private television channel, we have grown into a truly global entertainment content company with a worldwide footprint and a strong presence across all forms of entertainment. Indian M&E industry has grown by leaps and bounds but it is just the beginning. I am confident that we will continue to shape the entertainment industry, much like we have done over the last two and a half decades.”

Zeel managing director and CEO Punit Goenka commented, “At Zeel, it has been an exciting 25 years during which we significantly increased our viewership and expanded our regional as well as global presence. This was achieved while delivering a strong financial performance. It has been possible because of our ability to evolve our content offerings in line with changing consumer preferences. Another step in this evolution would be the launch of our new digital product, ‘Z5’, in the second half of this financial year. It will offer an unrivalled content catalogue appealing to all demographics and bring unique viewing experience to the consumer.”

“We are satisfied with our performance against the backdrop of tough macro-economic environment during the quarter. Our advertisers were negatively impacted during transition to GST which led to a temporary pull-back on their ad spends. Post the decline in the first half of the quarter, the growth recovered strongly and is back on track. Despite the adversity, our domestic ad revenue grew at 5.8 percent on a comparable basis,” said Goenka.

“The domestic subscription growth for the quarter was at 7.2 percent. As against the early closure of deals last year, content deals with distributors are taking slightly longer due to litigations regarding the TRAI tariff regulation. However, our full year outlook for subscription growth remains unaltered. Despite the loss of advertising revenue and elevated expenses during the quarter, we have been able to deliver a healthy margin of 31 percent,” assured Goenka.

“The acquisition of 9X Media follows our stated strategy of expanding into regional markets and niche genres. 9X Media’s six music channels enjoy leading market shares in their respective segments and will further strengthen our entertainment offering to the consumer. The channels will benefit immensely from our network’s strength to achieve higher growth potential and cost synergies,” revealed Goenka.

Let us look at the other numbers reported by Zeel

The company’s total expenditure in the current quarter declined 9.6 percent y-o-y to Rs 10,909 million from Rs 12,062 million. Employee Benefit Expense in Q2-18 increased 18.4 percent y-o-y to Rs1814 million from Rs 1533 million. Operating costs in the current quarter declined 24.7 percent y-o-y to Rs 5789 million from Rs 7688 million. Advertising and Publicity expenses increased 22.3 percent y-o-y in Q2-18 to Rs 1410 million from Rs 1153 million in Q2-18. Other expenses increased 12.3 percent in the current quarter to Rs 1896 million from Rs 1688 million in Q2-17.

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