22 Sep 2017
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Sun TV open to selling IPL franchise

MUMBAI: Kalanithi Maran-promoted Sun TV Network is open to selling its loss-making IPL franchise even as the cash-rich T20 league has generated controversies over spot-fixing and betting charges.

Sunrisers Hyderabad1Sun TV Network, which had bought the Hyderabad team in October 2012 with a winning bid of Rs 425 crore (Rs 4.25 billion), is open to hiving off the IPL franchise into a separate entity for a possible sale.

No steps, however, have been taken to work towards a sale of the IPL franchise. A decision has also not been taken in this regard.

Sun TV Network’s operating loss from IPL widened in FY15 to Rs 58.33 crore (Rs 583.3 million), from Rs 36.53 crore (Rs 365.3 million) a year ago. Revenue fell in FY15 to Rs 100.2 crore (Rs 1 billion), from Rs 105.53 crore (Rs 1.06 billion) in the prior year.

In the first quarter of this fiscal, the loss from IPL was Rs 56.61 crore (Rs 566 million) compared to Rs 43.45 crore (Rs 434 million) in the previous year. Revenue fell 15 per cent year on year to Rs 96.55 crore (Rs 966 million).

Hyderabad Sunrisers

Last month, Justice RM Lodha Committee suspended Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) from participating in the IPL for two years. The committee also proposed suspending CSK’s Gurunath Meiyappan and RR’s Raj Kundra for life from any involvement with the BCCI in any form.

Meanwhile, Sun TV Network’s investment in the acquisition of movie rights for broadcast is expected to be between Rs 450 crore and Rs 480 crore (Rs 4.5–4.8bn) in FY16. The amounts spent on purchase of movie rights for satellite broadcast have been around the same levels for the past couple of years. Sun has a library of 11,000 movies.

Sun TV Network’s ad revenue growth, driven by FMCG, telecom and auto sector, is likely to be in the low-to-mid teens for the fiscal. In the first quarter ended 30 June 2015, the company reported a 15.7 per cent jump in ad revenue from the year-ago period to Rs 323.9 crore (Rs 3.24 billion). Growth was largely triggered by higher ad volume consumption. E-commerce is a new category on the network.

Sun TV continues to sell around 18 minutes of ad inventory in prime time across its general entertainment channels (GECs). For driving growth, the focus is on higher inventory utilisation in non-GEC channels such as comedy and music. In FY16, ad volume-driven growth is likely to be over 10 per cent.

Subscription revenue growth in the fiscal is expected to be 10–12 per cent. Sun TV’s direct-to-home (DTH) subscriber base stood at 10.9 million as of 30 June 2015.

Sun’s capex for the FM radio business is expected to be around Rs 300 crore (Rs 3 billion) in FY16.