Television

Network18 FY17 consolidated revenue up by 5% from last year

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MUMBAI: Network18's Q4 results showed a five per cent YoY growth (driven largely by its TV operations) over last year, posting consolidated revenue of Rs 3,471 crore in FY17 (including proportionate share of JVs) . Segment profits were significantly impacted by pullback in advertising spends in the latter half, operating losses of the new initiatives in regional and digital broadcasting, and losses in digital commerce businesses. 

Financials for the quarter

The consolidated revenue (including proportionate share of JVs considered for segment reports) for the quarter ended 31 March, 2017, stood at Rs. 898.4 crore versus Rs. 898.8 crore in the corresponding quarter last year. The FY17 consolidated revenue stood at Rs. 3471.1 crore, up five per cent from Rs. 3321 crore last year.

Segment loss before interest and tax on a consolidated basis, including the performance of joint ventures for the quarter ended 31 March, 2017, stood at Rs 65.5 crore versus segment profit of  Rs. 65.3 crore in the corresponding quarter last year.  Excluding the impact of new initiatives and one-time expenses, the segment profit for the quarter is Rs 5 crore.

The consolidated revenue as per Ind AS (accounting the JVs under equity method) for the quarter ended 31 March, 2017, stood at Rs. 387.7 crore as compared to Rs. 473.2 crore in the corresponding quarter last year. The FY17 consolidated Ind-AS revenue stood at Rs. 1491.0 crore, down two per cent from Rs. 1527.3 crore last year.

Operating loss on a consolidated basis under Ind AS for the quarter ended 31st March, 2017 stood at Rs. 20.7 crore versus segment profit Rs. 82.7 crores in the corresponding quarter last year. Excluding the impact of new initiatives and one-time expenses, the operating profit for the quarter is Rs. 55.2 crores.

Highlights 

One of the highlights of quarters were the tepid ad-industry environment dragged revenues, especially in regional markets. The media industry is still facing impact of deferment of advertising spends that kicked-in from November-December 2016 on likely slow-down in consumer spending. 

Further, the revival of advertising  spends  has  been  witnessed  at a much faster clip for national  channels,  while regional markets are still recovering with a lag. This has been exacerbated by our launches of regional news and entertainment channels over the last 18 months, including four in early-FY17.

Despite headwinds, Network18’ s consolidated topline (including JVs) was flat YoY. Listed subsidiary TV18 posted 7 per cent YoY topline growth and its operating profits excluding impact of new initiatives was Rs. 92.6 crores (vs. Rs. 96.7 crores in Q4 FY17).

The viewership  around  key  events  demonstrated  the network's’ news  franchise  leadership  and excellence of coverage. CNBC TV18, during the live coverage and analysis of the Union Budget on 1 Feb 2017, garnered 86 per cent market share. On Counting Day of the Assembly Elections of five states, CNN News18 was the number one english news channel.

Another highlight for the network was the Viacom18, which continues to showcase its strength in Hindi general entertainment, regional entertainment and Kids genres. Colors is now a number two channel, while Nick and Sonic together place us as the top Kids content provider  with a 29 per cent market-share.

OTT entertainment app VOOT continues to gain traction, and are witnessing  more  sticky  usage  patterns  than  competition.  Opinions  website  “Firstpost”  and flagship finance portal “MoneyControl” were standout performers, and have posted impressive growth in traffic.

HomeShop18 has contributed substantially to the weakness in Network18 profitability.

The TV home-shopping business continues to face challenges due to a hit to cash-on-delivery payments and a poor spending appetite since November, competition from e-commerce and regulatory issues including imposition of entry tax by several states. The management is taking steps to cut costs and accelerate operating break-even.

Network18 chairman Adil Zainulbhai said,  “The digital space in India continues to become more and more vibrant, as bottlenecks around connectivity and cost reduce substantially. We see the emergence of new formats and services, and rapidly-evolving business models; and aim to be at the forefront of this change. Our strength in linear media provides us the edge, helping us leapfrog in our aspiration to be a channel-agnostic provider of top-drawer content”.

New initiatives & one-time charges

The new initiatives of Viacom18 (2nd  Kannada GEC Colors Super, OTT video destination VOOT and movie channel Rishtey Cineplex) continued to perform well on all operational metrics. The aggregate operating loss of the new initiatives considered in the consolidated segment results for the quarter is Rs. 36.1 crores.

Three  regional  news  channels  --  News18  Kerala,  News18  Tamil  Nadu  and  News18 Assam/N.E -- that were launched during the first quarter of the current year incurred an operating loss of Rs. 26.9 crores during the quarter.

“fyi TV18”, a lifestyle programming channel from the AETN18 stable (a JV between TV18 and A&E Network), commercially launched in July 2016, gained a market share of 21% in the quarter. The channel incurred an operating loss of Rs. 7.6 crore during the quarter.

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