NDTV broadcast operations' profitable run continues in Q3 2019

The company claims it has happened for the first time in 14 years.

BENGALURU: Indian television media company New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV) reported profits for the third consecutive quarter in the current fiscal from its broadcast operations, a record that has happened for the first time in fourteen years claims the company in a press release. Despite a year-on-year (y-o-y) drop in revenues the company has managed to turn fortunes around by paring off of a number of expenses, the most notable being employee cost, which has dropped by more than a third (36.7 percent) in the latest quarter as compared to the corresponding year ago quarter.

For the quarter ended 31 December 2018 (Q3 2019, quarter or period under review), NDTV has reported consolidated profit after tax of Rs 8.31 crore (8.1 percent of operating income) as compared to a consolidated loss of Rs 21.04 crore for the corresponding year ago quarter (Q3 2018). NDTV’s consolidated total comprehensive income (TCI) for the quarter under review was Rs 8.31 crore as compared to a consolidated total comprehensive loss of Rs 22.42 crore for Q3 2018.  The company’s consolidated operating profit (operating EBITDA) for the period was Rs 17.3 crore (16.9 percent of operating revenue) as compared to a consolidated operating loss (negative EBITDA) of Rs 2.58 crore) in Q3 2018.

Segment numbers

NDTV has two segments – television media and related operations (Television) and retail/ecommerce. Television revenue for Q3 2019 declined 8.1 percent y-o-y to Rs 100.54 crore from Rs 109.40 crore. Television segment reported results of Rs 20.35 crore in Q3 2019 as compared to Rs 7.46 crore in Q3 2018.

Retail/ecommerce segment had operating revenue of Rs 2.20 crore in Q3 2019 as compared to Rs 4.55 crore in Q3 2018. The segment’s loss for the period declined to Rs 2.09 crore from Rs 9.50 crore.

Let us look at the other numbers reported by the company

NDTV’s consolidated operating revenue for Q3 2019 declined 8.2 percent y-o-y to Rs 102,64 crore as compared to Rs 111.68 crore for the corresponding year ago quarter. Total revenue including other income also dropped by 8.2 percent y-o-y in the period under review to Rs 106.50 crore as compared to Rs 116.05 crore for Q3 2018.

Total expenses in Q3 2019 reduced 22.7 percent y-o-y to Rs 95.21 crore (92.9 percent of operating revenue) from Rs 128.22 crore (110.3 percent of operating revenue). The company has reduced most of the major expenses, however, amongst the major ones, finance costs increased 36.1 percent y-o-y in Q3 2019 to Rs 6.97 crore (6.8 percent of operating revenue) from Rs 5.12 crore (4.6 percent of operating revenue) crore during the corresponding period of the previous year.

As mentioned above, employee benefit expense reduced 36.9 percent y-o-y in Q3 2019 to Rs 31.26 crore (30.5 percent of operating revenue) from Rs 49.38 crore (44.2 percent of operating revenue) in Q3 2018. Operating and administrative cost in the quarter under review increased 27.9 percent y-o-y to Rs 18.06 crore (17.6 percent of operating revenue) from Rs 25.06 crore (22.4 percent of operating revenue) in Q3 2018. Marketing distribution and promotional expenses in Q3 2019 was 29.9 percent lower at Rs 11.64 crore (11.4 percent of operating revenue) as compared to Rs 16.6 crore (14.9 percent of operating revenue)

The NDTV Group

The company’s financial statements claim that the NDTV Group has made profits for the quarter under review as compared to the corresponding year ago quarter. Further, profit for Q3 2019 has gone up by Rs 7.72 crore as compared to the preceding quarter (Q2 2019). Similarly, losses for the nine-month period ended 31 December 2018 (9M 2019) have gone down to Rs 1.58 crore from Rs 67.82 crore for 9M-2018. NDTV says that based on current business plans and projections, the company/group expects growth in operations and improvement in operational efficiency. To meet long term and short-term working capital requirements, which includes certain overdue payments, the management continues to implement various options like rationalising costs, negotiating extended credit terms and divestment of non-core businesses address these matters and building efficiency in collections.

The company’s media release says that NDTV Convergence, the company’s digital arm, has, for the first time, earned more than Rs 40 crore in one quarter. In December, the company disclosed that it has signed a five-year advertising deal worth more than Rs 300 crore with native advertising platform Taboola.

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