ZEEL reports higher subscription and OTT rights revenues for first quarter

PAT in COVID2019 quarter after Q4 2020 hiccup loss

BENGALURU: Subhash Chandra’s Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (Zeel) reported a profitable quarter, albeit with steep declines in top-line and bottom-line numbers for the quarter ended 30 June 2020 (Q1 20210, quarter or period under review, COVID2019 quarter) as compared to the corresponding year-ago quarter Q1 2020. A number of Indian media and entertainment companies have reported a loss for COVID2019 quarter. Among other silver linings is growth in subscription revenue and growth in other sales and services which includes the sale of rights of movies to OTT platform. These numbers increased y-o-y by 5 per cent and 30.2 per cent respectively.

Zeel reported 34.7 per cent lower y-o-y operating revenue at Rs 1,312.03 crore for Q1 2021 as compared to Rs 2,008.12 crore in Q1 2020. Total income (Operating revenue plus other income) fell 32.8 per cent y-o-y to Rs 1,338.41 crore from Rs 2,112.03 crore in Q1 2020.

Ad revenue fell 59.5 per cent y-o-y in Q1 2021 to Rs 421.06 crore from Rs 1,186.71 crore in Q1 2020. Subscription revenue and other sales and service revenue increased y-o-y during the period under review as mentioned above. The company reported Rs 744.34 crore and Rs 708.77 crore as subscription revenue and Rs 146.63 crore and Rs 112.64 crore towards other sales and services for Q1 2021 and Q1 2020 respectively.  Zeel says in an investor presentation that subscription revenue increase was led primarily by increase in its OTT platform ZEE5 subscription revenue.

Zeel says that international Ad revenue was Rs 37.1 crore, international subscription revenue was Rs 81.8 crore and other sales and services revenue was Rs 15 crore.

Zeel reported profit after tax (PAT) of Rs 29.28 crore for COVID2019 quarter, which was just about one-eighteenth (declined 94.5 per cent) of the PAT of Rs 529.76 crore for Q1 2020. Operating profit (EBIDTA) for Q1 2021 was Rs 219.93 crore (16.8 per cent of operating revenue), or about one third (down 66.7 per cent) of Rs 659.75 crore (32.9 per cent of operating revenue) for Q1 2020.

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

Total expenditure for Q1 2021 was Rs 1,280.80 crore which was 6.5 per cent lower y-o-y than the Rs 1,369.99 crore in Q1 2020. Operational costs in Q1 2021 were 15.7 per cent lower y-o-y at Rs 657.79 crore than the Rs 780.02 crore in Q1 2020. Employee benefits expense in Q1 2021 at Rs 200.12 crore was almost flat (fell 0.1 per cent) y-o-y as compared to Rs 200.33 crore in Q1 2020.

Financial costs were less than a fourth (declined 78 per cent) y-o-y during the quarter under review at Rs 4.52 crore as compared to Rs 20.51 crore in Q1 2020. The company reported a fair value loss of Rs 112,33 crore in Q1 2021 as compared to a fair value gain of Rs 67.88 crore for Q1 2020 for its investments in overseas mutual funds. Advertisement and publicity expenses during the period under review at Rs 111.09 crore were 43.2 per cent lower y-o-y than the Rs 195.46 crore in Q1 2020. Other expenses in Q1 2021 at Rs 123.10 crore were 28.7 per cent lower than the Rs 172.56 crore in Q1 2020.

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