TV18 Q1 2016-17: New investments lead to losses

MUMBAI: When you invest in new launches, relaunches, on talent and digital products without additional cash being pumped in, it obviously is going to hurt your bottom-line.

That's exactly what's happened to TV18 Broadcast, which has reported a consolidated segment revenue (including proportionate share of joint ventures considered for segment reports) of Rs 606.7 crore in Q1 to June 2016 as compared to Rs 596.7 core in the year ago period. But it has turned out a loss of Rs 14.1 crore as against a profit of Rs 8.6 crore in the same period last year.

Rebranding and relaunching of CNN-IBN as CNN-News18 cost the company Rs 3.5 crore. Three new news channels – News18 Kerala, News18 Tamil, News18 Assam/NE were flagged off in April 2016 and contributed Rs 13.9 crore to its operating losses. Rishtey CinePlex and over the top service Voot, which were launched in May 2016, and HD channels in Marathi, Kannada and Bangla that made a debut under Viacom18 in the quarter helped add to the aggregate operating losses to the tune of Rs 29.2 crore. Finally, factual entertainment channel FYI from the AETN18 stable launched 10 days ago reported a loss of Rs 5.4 crore which has been included in the April-June quarter.

The company says that the segment loss before tax and before interest including performance of the joint ventures stands at Rs 19.1 crore. If one were to exclude the impact of these new initiatives , the segment profit for the business is at Rs 32.9 crore.

TV18 has also moved to the Indian accounting standards (Ind-AS) from 1 April 2016 and it has restated its comparative results. Under this, its joint ventures Viacom18, Indiacast, and IBN Lokmat have been accounted under the equity method, the company says.

Additionally, the company had included the financials of Prism TV Private Ltd as a subsidiary in the previous corresponding quarter but which have now been reported as a joint venture from August 2015 when it ceased to be an offshoot.

Under Ind-AS (accounting for JVs under equity method), TV18’s consolidated revenue stands at Rs 210.7 crore in Q1 2016-2017 as against Rs 273.1 crore in the previous corresponding quarter.

The company states that if one were to consider the operations of TV18 on a like for like basis, after factoring the change in status of Prism TV from a subsidiary to a joint venture, the growth in revenue is 18 per cent even as the operating loss is down to Rs 19 crore from Rs 22.2 crore in Q1 June 2015.

TV18 chairman Adil Zainulbhai states in the earnings release that it is bullish about the media business – both linear and digital – and is investing heavily in it to position it for leadership. “…to be ahead of the curve…The results of these investments are starting to bear fruit and will help in healthy revenue growth and profits in the near future,” he says.

The stock market seems to have taken the financial results and statements with a pinch of salt during trading hours. The TV18 stock shed some 13.5 per cent and closed at Rs 40.70 when trading ended.

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