Television

Zee Telefilms Q2 net profit up 115 %

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MUMBAI: Zee Telefilms Ltd's net profit rose 115.46 per cent to Rs 399.90 million for the quarter ended 30 September 2004, from Rs 185.60 million a year ago.



Total income increased to Rs 1960.50 million, from Rs 1252.90 million in the corresponding period of the previous year.



Zee Telefilms Ltd.'s consolidated net profit , however, fell 1.3 per cent to Rs 691 million for the quarter ended 30 September 2004, from Rs 701 million a year ago.



The company's consolidated revenues, however, rose 7.7 per cent at Rs 3,479 million. Operating profit increased by 1.6 per cent to Rs 1,030. 'The growth was driven by higher pay revenues, and a recovery in advertising revenues from the corresponding quarter last year. Operating profit growth was lower due to programming and marketing costs and losses incurred on film distribution business,' the company said in a release.



Profit before tax was Rs 965 million, an increase of 5.3 per cent as compared to the corresponding quarter last year. The results include the financials of ETC Networks Limited (ETC) and Padmalaya Enterprises Pvt. Limited (PEPL). The financials of Padmalaya Telefilms Ltd., however, have not been consolidated.



'For reasons under investigation, PEPL's holding in Padmalaya Telefilms Limited (PTL) dropped below 50 per cent . Therefore financials of PTL have not been consolidated in the numbers presented,' the release said. In the corresponding quarter last year, PTL had contributed Rs 261 million to revenues and Rs 33 million to operating profits.



"Zee finished the second quarter with a good performance, highlighted by 7.7 per cent growth in revenues. Spread across both advertising-based and non-advertising businesses, this performance highlights the fundamental attributes of Zee's assets, and our ability to seize growth opportunities," said ZTL chairman and managing director Subhash Chandra.



Commenting on the profitability, he said: "The reported profitability of the Company includes start-up losses on the DTH activity, mainly marketing and other expenses and also some losses incurred in film distribution business. But for these losses, our net profit would have shown a good growth, in line with trends in recent quarters. The DTH business holds great potential for the company and we hope to reap its benefits from the next financial year."



'The Company's financial condition gained further strength, with reduction in gross debt of Rs 4.0 billion since March 2004. This move demonstrates Zee's financial strength and flexibility," he added.



Revenue Streams

Zee's revenues are generated primarily from advertising sales and subscription revenues. Other sales and services include revenues from film production and distribution, syndication, education sales and sale of set top boxes. The following table sets forth the percentage of revenues that each type contribute to consolidated revenues for the second quarter of 2005 and 2004.



Zee's advertising revenues rose 5.4 per cent to Rs 1537 million for the second quarter of this Fiscal. Overall subscription revenues registered an increase of 7.9 per cent over the corresponding quarter last fiscal. Domestic pay revenues also continued to grow with 27.6 per cent increase over the corresponding period last year, checked by a price freeze imposed on pay channels, by TRAI.



'The freeze has emboldened the cable operators to persist with gross under-declaration, which has reflected in a lower growth of subscription revenues,' the company said. Other sales and services, which include the sale of set top boxes, recorded an increase of 18.6 per cent.



Expenditure

Zee's programming and transmission cost went down 2.4 per cent compared to the corresponding period last year. Total expenses were up 10.5 per cent. Operating profit has grown by 1.6 per cent to Rs 1,030 million, while operating profit margin was at 29.6 per cent, as compared to 31.4 per cent achieved during the corresponding quarter last year.



Due to capital restructuring, finance cost fell 60.1 per cent to Rs 77 million for the second quarter of this Fiscal, down from Rs 192 million a year ago. During FY2005, Zee has repaid Rs 4.0 billion from its gross debt. Overall, profit before tax has grown by 5.3 per cent to Rs 965 million.



Business Restructuring

The first phase of international restructuring aimed at consolidating non-Indian operations into a single subsidiary has been completed. During the quarter, a separate transmission beam was commenced for Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Japan providing a customised prime time viewing experience to subscribers and a new revenue stream for Zee.



On the film production front, Zee has gone slow. The plan is running behind schedule by six months, since the company wanted to mitigate risks from the business model before expanding into film production.

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