Television

Network18 reports lower loss on lower revenue due to Covid2019

Ad revenues were impacted, subscription revenues up 6% despite Covid2019

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BENGALURU: Mukesh Ambani’s Network18 Media & Investments Ltd (Network18) reported 34.5 percent decline in consolidated operating revenue for the quarter ended 30 June 2020 (Q1 2021, quarter or period under review) as compared to the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal (Q1 2020). Consolidated operating EBITDA for the quarter reduced 40.9 percent as compared to the corresponding period of the last year. The company reported lower consolidated loss of Rs 60.60 crore for Q1 2021 2020 as compared to loss of Rs 127.66 crore reported in the the corresponding year ago quarter.

The company says in an earnings press release for Q1 2021 that the COVID2019 linked clampdown on spending by advertisers dragged ad-revenues sharply, especially on Entertainment. However, TV subscription revenue remained resilient, and Digital subscriptions have accelerated. The business strategy and operating methodology were re-engineered amidst a strategic review to address the current challenging environment.

The company said further that the cost base was comprehensively reset across verticals, as the organisation embraced tech-solutions and a leaner, nimbler approach. Operating EBITDA dipped on account of the revenue drag. However, aggressive and broad-based cost-controls across business verticals limited the fall. Consolidated PAT improved YoY led by a decline in finance costs.

Network18’s reported consolidated operating revenue in Q1 2021 and Q1 2020 was Rs 807.07 crore and Rs 1,242.12 crore respectively. Consolidated operating EBITDA for Q1 2021 and Q1 2020 was Rs 27.39 crore and  Rs 46.35 crore respectively.

Network18 reports revenue from two streams – (1) TV18 Broadcast Ltd or TV18 which comprises of News (TV18 standalone) and Entertainment (Viacom18+AETN+Indiacast) and (2) Digital, Print and Others. It must be noted that Viacom18 and AETN18 are 51 percent entertainment subsidiaries of TV18, while distribution-arm Indiacast is a 50:50 JV of TV18 and Viacom18. TV18's 24.5 percent minority stake in Telugu entertainment associate Eenadu TV (Ramoji Rao group) is not included in the TV18’s numbers.

TV18 Broadcast Ltd's numbers for Q1 2021

TV18 Broadcast Ltd (TV18) consolidated revenue reduced 35 percent in Q1 2021 to Rs 776 crore from Rs 1,1,98 crore in Q1 2020. TV18 consolidated operating EBITDA declined 43 percent in Q1 2021 to Rs 44 crore from Rs 77 crore in Q1 2020.

News (TV18 standalone) reported 27 percent decline in operating revenue for Q1 2020 as compared to Q1 2020.  TV18 standalone or News revenue declined in Q1 2021 to Rs 230 crore from Rs 298 crore in Q1 2020. Operating EBITDA for News (TV18 standalone) dropped 82 percent in Q1 2021 to Rs 4 crore from Rs 20 crore in Q1 2020. Its contribution grew to about 30 percent to the revenues of TV18 consolidated revenues in Q1 2021 from about 25 percent in Q1 2020.

The larger revenue stream for TV18 is Entertainment, which had revenue drop of 39 percent y-o-y during the same period.

Entertainment revenue was Rs 546 crore for Q1 2021 and Rs 899 crore in Q1 2020. Entertainment revenue also includes subscription revenue – the company reported 6 percent growth in subscription revenue for Q1 2021 to Rs 450 crore from Rs 424 crore in Q1 2020 Operating EBITDA for Entertainment dropped 29 percent during the quarter under review to Rs 41 crore as compared to Rs 57 crore in Q1 2020

Print, Digital and others and intercompany eliminations (Others) numbers

Print, Digital and others and intercompany eliminations (Others) operating revenue for Q1 2021 reduced 35 percent to Rs 31 crore from Rs 48 crore in Q1 2020. Operating EBITDA for Q1 2021 was a lower operating loss at Rs 17 crore as compared to an operating loss Of Rs 31 crore in Q1 2020.

Let us look at the other numbers reported by Network18 for Q1 2021

All numbers in this report are consolidated unless stated otherwise.

Total expenditure in Q1 2021 declined 33.4 percent y-o-y to Rs 871.65 crore from Rs 1,307.87 crore in the corresponding period of the previous year. Marketing distribution and promotional expense during the quarter under review decreased 32 percent y-o-y to Rs 171.54 crore in Q1 2021 from Rs 252.13 crore in Q1 2020. Employee benefits expense in Q1 2021 reduced 18.1 percent y-o-y to Rs 222.91 crore from Rs 272.01 crore in Q1 2020. Operational costs in Q1 2021 reduced 48.3 percent y-o-y to Rs 297.04 crore from Rs 574.32 crore in the corresponding year ago quarter. Finance cost declined 15.7 percent y-o-y to Rs 53.06 crore from Rs 62.91 crore in the corresponding quarter of last year. Other expenses in Q1 2021 declined 11.4 percent y-o-y to Rs 88.19 crore from Rs 99.59 crore.

Company speak:

Network18 chairman Adil Zainulbhai said: “The quarter that went by was the most challenging period that the industry has witnessed in many decades. That we are emerging on the other side bears testimony to our ability to question and modify established ways of operating, realign priorities and maintain focus, all while keeping our workforce safe and our audiences engaged. Our staff and employees undertook a heroic effort to adjust to the challenges posed by the pandemic, and kept our channels and properties running. We are proud of the personnel that kept the show going amidst trying circumstances, especially for the News18 network that provided peerless coverage and relevant campaigns during the pandemic. As we resume original content production in Entertainment amidst tight protocols, we wish to thank our audiences who have stood by us over the years. Growing TV and Digital media consumption, a nimbler business strategy and further-strengthened core brands in our portfolio…..we believe this is indeed the new normal.”

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