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ALT Balaji revenue up five-fold: Balaji Telefilms board recommends final dividend

ALT Balaji had revenue of Rs 41.6 crore and Rs 6.8 crore in FY 2019 and FY 2018 respectively

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BENGALURU: The Ektaa Kapoor-led Balaji Telefilms Ltd (BTL) reported more than five-fold (512.4 percent increase) growth in standalone operating revenue from its OTT platform ALT Balaji (Digital segment)  for the year ended 31 March 2019 (FY 2019, year under review) as compared to the previous fiscal (FY 2018, previous year). The company also reported more than sixteen-fold increase for its OTT platform’s subscriber base for the fiscal under review as compared to the previous year. The company says in an investor financial presentation that in less than two years, ALT Balaji is a frontrunner in the OTT domain. BTL says that ALT Balaji is #3 grossing video on demand service in India - based on App Annie data for grossing within the entertainment category across iOS and Google between April 2018 and March 2019.

BTL reported revenue of Rs 41.87 crore for Alt Balaji for FY 2019 as compared to Rs 6.84 crore in FY 2018. ALT Balaji achieved subscriber base of 2.01 crore (20.1 million, 201 lakh) at the end of the year under review as compared to 0.12 crore (1.2 million, 12 lakh) in FY 2018. However, the segment incurred an operating loss of Rs 120.81 crore as compared to an operating loss of Rs 104.84 crore in FY 2018 and hence affected BTL’s consolidated bottomline to the extent that the company reported a consolidated loss of Rs 105.11 crore. Considering the fact that the segment is still at a nascent phase, such losses can be expected in the initial stages.

BTL’s  largest business – its Television and Movie production business – (BTL standalone) had a 5.7 percent growth in operating revenue for FY 2019 at Rs 440.30 crore as compared to Rs 416.59 crore in FY 2018. Operating profit EBITDA for the year under review declined by 3.6 times to Rs 14.7 crore as compared to Rs 53.1 crore in the previous year. PAT for FY 2019 increased 23.3 percent to Rs 20.12 crore as compared to Rs 16.30 crore in the previous year. Two movies were released in the year and the EBITDA before special items from movies was Rs 5.4 crore. BTL informs that FY 2019 was impacted by Rs 9.05 crore provision for penalty on taxes which was adjusted with advance tax paid by it as a matter of abundant caution. The BTL board of directors have recommended a payment of final dividend of Rs 0.40 per equity share of face value Rs 2 subject to the approval of the shareholders at the ensuing annual general meeting.

BTL says that there was a 14 percent improvement in the revenues per hour of programming in the TV business – FY 2019 at Rs 0.38 crore per hour versus Rs 0.33 crore per hour in FY2018. Total programming hours in FY 2019 were 763 as compared to 819 in FY 2018. However revenue from programming increased to Rs 287.3 crore as compared to Rs 270.6 crore in the previous year.  Gross margin from programming declined to Rs 60.3 crore (21 percent) in FY 2019 from Rs 80.3 crore (29.7 percent) in FY 2018

Three segments across five entities contribute to BTL’s consolidated numbers. On a consolidated basis, BTL reported 3.5 percent increase in total income from operations at Rs 427.71 crore in FY 2019 as compared to Rs 413.32 crore in FY 2018. The company had an operating loss (negative EBITDA) of Rs 105.11 crore in FY 2019 as compared to an operating loss of Rs 51.78 crore in FY 2018. As mentioned above, a big contributor to the loss was ALT Balaji. The company reported a consolidated loss of Rs 97.75 crore for the year under review as compared to a consolidated loss of Rs 46.33 crore in FY 2018.

Let us look at the segment numbers reported by BTL

The three segments that contribute to BTL numbers are (a) Commissioned programmes (CP) (b) Films and (c) Digital.

BTL’s reported 6.1 percent growth in operating revenue in FY 2019 for its CP segment at Rs 344.02 crore as compared to Rs 324.21 crore. CP segment’s operating EBITDA was almost flat (declined by 0.9 percent) in FY 2019 to Rs 49.09 crore from Rs 49.51 crore in the previous fiscal.

Films segment revenue declined 8.5 percent to Rs 102.27 crore in FY 2019 as compared to Rs 111.72 crore in the previous year. The segment’s operating result declined by 49.2 percent during the period under review to Rs 8.26 crore from Rs 16.26 crore in the previous year.

Digital segment or ALT Balaji revenues and results have been mentioned above.

Let us look at the other consolidated numbers reported by the company

Total income for FY 2019 increased 6.3 percent to Rs 459.48 crore from Rs 432.34 crore in the previous year. Total Expenditure for FY 2019 increased 14.1 percent to Rs 550.90 crore from Rs 482.86 crore in FY 2018. Cost of production, acquisition and telecast fees increased 32.8 percent to Rs 400.45 crore from Rs 301.46 crore. Marketing and distribution expense in FY 2019 declined 21.9 percent to Rs 43.12 crore as compared to Rs 55.19 crore in the previous fiscal. Employee benefits expense for FY 2019 increased 59.1 percent to Rs 49.57 crore from Rs 31.14 crore in FY 2018. Other expenses in the period under review increased 14.1 percent to Rs 64.16 crore from Rs 55.03 crore in FY 2019.

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