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Roy floats NDTV Ventures for entertainment channel, new media expansion

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NEW DELHI: The Prannoy Roy-promoted NDTV Ltd, which today reported a 27 per cent year-on-year (YoY) growth in revenues for the quarter ending September 30, announced formation of NDTV Ventures to start a slew of TV channels, including a Hindi general entertainment channel.
NDTV figs for FY 06 ended March '06
Total income: Rs 1941.48 million
Profit after tax: Rs 199.12 million
Unveiling the future course of expansion, top honchos of NDTV said it is to take the company revenue up to $ 500 million in five years; focus on triple play and make NDTV a global Indian media brand.

NDTV Ventures, a 100 per cent subsidiary, has been formed to undertake major expansion in non-news segments as well as aggressively push new media propositions.

“Every three to four years we take a leap, consolidate our position and then again move ahead,” is how NDTV chairman Prannoy Roy explained the philosophy behind the latest expansion model during an interaction with journalists today evening after a company board meeting.

“The new model is based on an entrepreneurial management structure aimed at attracting and rewarding the best global talent in the business, including the large talent bank within NDTV. The model will help streamline existing operations and make them more cost efficient,” Roy said in a year when quite a few media companies like Television Eighteen and Zee Telefilms have undertaken corporate restructuring to chart out new expansion plans.

Though no time frame was given, Roy also said that the company plans to start “soon” four city-centric English infotainment channels called NDTV Metro Nation.

The new model envisages having NDTV LTD as the parent entity with news and non-news operations under it as separate subsidiaries. Each of the subsidiaries will have a number of verticals, NDTV’s chief executive for growth and strategy Vikram Chandra said.

The non-news forays would be undertaken by NDTV Ventures (in the process of being formally incorporated) and will have under it the entertainment and new media divisions.

NDTV New Media, in turn, will have NDTV Convergence (Internet initiatives), NGen (media process outsourcing) and NDTV Labs under its umbrella. According to Chandra, NDTV Labs, which will develop in-house broadcast technologies for sale to proposed clients, has already closed its first deal.

The corporate model for NDTV Ventures, which will incubate and operate focused verticals, will permit investments by strategic and financial partners in individual verticals apart from NDTV Ventures itself.

If that was not enough, NDTV has also acquired for the rights of Indian boxing fixtures for the next 10 years.

This, in a nutshell, marks out the route the Roys and associates are taking to expand regionally as well as globally. The new growth model would enable NDTV to raise funds for its future businesses beyond news, Roy said, adding that an IPO of NDTV Ventures is “one of the options before us.”

NDTV MAINTAINS OPTIMISTIC OUTLOOK

The company’s board, which approved the new growth plans, also approved the Q2 financial results.

The company declared net profit at Rs 37 million on revenues of Rs 545 million. Revenues in the previous corresponding quarter stood at Rs 430 million.

The company added 78 new clients and 172 new brands to its advertiser base this quarter.

The current quarter’s expenses include the costs attributable to certain initiatives for generating new income streams in the future. Some of the operating loss of Rs 33 million has been incurred in building new businesses.

On the revenue front, the company said the second half of the year is expected to be far more buoyant with revenues in the news business expected to grow at a robust 30-35 per cent.

Going forward, the company expects top line growth to accelerate, with substantial contribution from new business initiatives.

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