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Zee Media narrows Q1 net loss to Rs 7 crore

MUMBAI: Despite operating losses from new channels and print business, Zee Media Corporation Ltd (ZMCL) narrowed its fiscal first quarter net loss to Rs 7.1 crore (Rs 71 million) compared to Rs 15.62 crore (Rs 156.2 million) a year ago.

The company’s new channels include Zee MPCG, Zee Marudhara, Zee Kalinga, and Maurya TV, while its print business houses English daily DNA.

Advertising revenue dropped 5.1 per cent but the company maintained a tight control on cost. ZMCL’s ad revenue for the quarter ended 30 June 2015 stood at Rs 96.75 crore (Rs 967.5 million), from Rs 101.9 crore (Rs 1.02 billion) a year ago. In Q1 FY15 advertising revenues had gone up substantially because of election spends.

Meanwhile, subscription revenues in the quarter were up 15 per cent to Rs 28.67 crore (Rs 286.7 million).

While employee cost saw an organic 5 per cent increase, all other overheads, cost of raw materials, operating, advertising, carriage and promotional costs saw a drop over the year-ago period.

ZMCL Q1 snapshot
ZMCL posted an operating profit (EBITDA) of Rs 14.77 crore (Rs 147.7 million) during the quarter, a jump of 606.7 per cent compared to Rs 2.1 crore (Rs 21 million) in the year-ago period.

TV news business

Revenue from the TV news business stood at Rs 108.63 crore (Rs 1.09 billion) in the first quarter, up 4.6 per cent compared to Rs 103.87 crore (Rs 1.04 billion) a year ago. Expenses stood at Rs 90.47 crore (Rs 904.7 million) as against Rs 90.65 crore (Rs 906.5 million) in the earlier year.

EBITDA from TV news business stood at Rs 18.16 crore (Rs 181.6 million), compared to Rs 13.22 crore (Rs 132.2 million) a year ago.

ZMCL Q1 TV biz
EBITDA from existing news channels remained flat at 25.8 crore (Rs 258.5 million), compared to Rs 25.79 crore (Rs 257.9 million) in the prior year.

Operating loss from new business (Zee MPCG, Zee Marudhara, Zee Kalinga, and Maurya TV) fell to Rs 7.69 crore (Rs 76.9 million), from Rs 14.57 crore (Rs 145.7 million) in Q1 FY15.

Print business

ZMCL’s print business (DNA) witnessed a drop in revenue to Rs 26.62 crore (Rs 266.2 million) vis-a-vis Rs 29.59 crore (Rs 295.9 million), while expenses also dropped to Rs 30.02 crore (Rs 300.2 million) as against Rs 40.7 crore (Rs 407 million) in the year-ago period.

Operating loss from print business was at Rs 3.4 crore (Rs 34 million), down from Rs 11.13 crore (Rs 111.3 million) in the year-ago period.

The consolidated financial results comprised the results of Zee Akaash News Pvt Ltd (60 per cent), Mediavest India Pvt Ltd (100 per cent), Diligent Media Corporation Ltd (99.99 per cent), Pri-Media Services Pvt Ltd (100 per cent), and Maurya TV Pvt Ltd (100 per cent).

ZMCL group CEO of news cluster Bhaskar Das said, “We are exploring new areas of innovation, both in form and content, in such a way that media is again established as the fourth pillar of democracy. As a pioneer in the industry, we seek to reinforce our commitment to the mass media through our engaging and thought-provoking content. We seek to improve our understanding and increase our collaboration with the change agents who are creating a positive impact on the development of our country. This I am hopeful will help us break the clutter and create meaningful content differentiation in the highly fragmented news TV genre.”

ZMCL CEO Ashish Kirpal Pandit added, “As the company sets itself apart from the me-too content environment, we are hopeful that new-age advertisers will find immense value in partnering us for pushing their communication through our differentiated media vehicles. While we are looking at investing to upgrade our content, we remain focused on maintaining a robust bottomline. As a process driven entity, we have been successful in optimising costs, which is reflected in the improved EBITDA margins. We are also trying to gauge the full impact of BARC ratings and how it is going to play out in future.”