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Regional properties boost Network18’s Q2 FY2018 EBIDTA by 59%

Network18 reported a 59 per cent jump in operating EBITDA to Rs 92 crore for the second quarter ended September 30, 2018. This growth is driven by improved performance of regional channels (both news and entertainment); despite gestation losses of Colors Tamil and new launch Colors Kannada Cinema.

Headline operating revenue grew 9 per cent (on a comparable basis), revenue ex-movies grew 14 per cent YoY, underscoring tailwinds in broadcasting.

The industry ad-environment has substantially improved compared with the previous year, though certain pockets of the market (mobiles, auto, colas, etc.) are yet to resume advertising full throttle. Broad-based growth in regional markets and upcoming festive season are positives.

Network18’s digital content properties now reach 24 per cent of total news consumption audience. Network18’s digital revenues from prime properties – MoneyControl, News18 and Firstpost – grew 12 per cent YoY to Rs 35 crore in Q2. The overall Network18 Digital, Print & Others revenue declined due to lower programming executed by 100%-owned content producer Colosceum.

BookMyShow completed $100 million Series D funding, adding TPG Growth as a new investor. Network18 also participated in the round, and remains the largest shareholder in BookMyShow. 

Broadcast subsidiary TV18 reported a 42 per cent jump in operating EBITDA to Rs 108 crore in Q2 FY19, driven by improved performance of regional channels (both news and entertainment); despite gestation losses of Colors Tamil and new launch Colors Kannada Cinema. While headline operating revenue grew 11 per cent (on a comparable basis), revenue ex-movies grew 17 per cent YoY, underscoring tailwinds in broadcasting. 

Advertising revenue for TV18 grew at ~18 per cent YoY overall. Regional channels across news and entertainment drove viewership growth and ad-revenues for the portfolio, reducing the dependence on national channels.

Subscription revenue for the entire bouquet grew 16 per cent YoY. The network is in negotiations with two of India’s leading DTH players for long-term deals on terms commensurate with the strength of its channel bouquet.

TV18’s News bouquet, comprising 20 channels, is No.1. News viewership share rose to 10.7 per cent, while the viewership share of its regional news cluster has risen further to 5.7 per cent vis-a-vis sub-2 per cent two years ago. Regional News losses have shrunk sharply as Government/ election-related ad-spends rose, substantially reducing the gestation losses of its multiple channels launched over FY15-17. The regional news + infotainment cluster slashed its operating losses by 70 per cent YoY to Rs 8 crore.

Hindi News channel News18 India broke into the top two in urban HSM, driving revenues in tandem. Business news channels showed commendable growth amidst choppy markets

Marketing campaigns around raising the profile of news channels and driving the “News18” brand were undertaken, which have continued to push viewership and mind-share.

Share of entertainment viewership of Viacom18’s bouquet of 31 channels was reported at 11.1 per cent. TV18’s entertainment bouquet revenue ex-movies grew 13 per cent. Regional entertainment channels have grown their viewership and monetisation substantially across all geographies. FTA channels like Rishtey Cineplex and MTV Beats continued their strong performance in a fast growing segment.

Commenting on the results, Adil Zainulbhai, Chairman, Network18, said, “Our regional properties across news and entertainment have shown significant improvements in viewership and monetization, cementing our belief that vernacular content will be a key growth driver. We continue to see opportunities in the Indian media space; and aim to create segmented offerings to deepen our presence.”

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