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Zee Media’s Q3 subscription income falls sharply, ad rev up 10.6% despite demonetisation

MUMBAI: Zee Media Corporation Ltd (ZMCL) has seen a sharp decline in subscription revenue in the fiscal third quarter, resulting in a widening of the company’s net loss compared to the year-ago period.

With flagship Hindi news channel Zee News going free to air (FTA), ZMCL’s subscription revenue plunged 62% to Rs 11.74 crore (Rs 117.4 million) in the quarter ended 31 December 2016 compared to Rs 30.64 crore a year ago.

The media firm’s consolidated net loss grew to Rs 6.22 crore from Rs 7.72 million in the same quarter a year ago.

Consolidated operating revenue contracted in the quarter ended 31 December over the year-ago period despite a growth in advertising income. Operating revenue fell 5.9% to Rs 135.93 crore from Rs 144.48 crore.

The company, which owns and operates 11 news channels and a daily newspaper DNA, defied demonetisation to grow its ad revenue by 10.6% in the third quarter ended 31 December.

Consolidated ad revenue stood at Rs 114.43 crore compared to Rs 103.46 crore in the earlier year.

Media companies have seen a dip in their ad revenue in Q3 due to the government’s demonetisation of high-value currency notes, which led to a fall in consumption and prompted advertisers to hold back on media spend. ZMCL has beaten that trend.

Revenue from other sales and services dropped 6% to 9.76 crore from Rs 10.38 crore.

Consolidated Financials (Break up of Revenues) - Q3
Expenditure rose 4.04% to Rs 139.79 crore from Rs 134.35 crore. Marketing, distribution and business promotion expenses fell to Rs 16.78 crore from Rs 25.39 crore. Other expenses shot up to Rs 44.87 crore from Rs 27.1 crore.

Operating expenditure grew 5.4% to Rs 129.62 crore.

TV business

ZMCL’s EBITDA from television business fell marginally to Rs 20.20 crore in the quarter ended 31 December 2016 from Rs 20.39 crore a year ago.

Revenue fell 5.6% to Rs 109.96 crore from Rs 116.45 crore.

Total expenses dropped to Rs 89.76 crore from Rs 96.06 crore a year ago.

English news channel World Is One News (WION) was commercially launched in December 2016.

Television Business - Existing Vs Channels - Q3Print business

Print business’ EBITDA loss stood at Rs 13.89 crore. In the third quarter of the previous fiscal, EBITDA was at Rs 1.15 crore.

Revenue from the print segment dropped to Rs 25.97 crore from Rs 28.03 crore.

Segment Results - Q3
Business activity in Q3

During the quarter, the company entered TV shopping business by acquiring 49% stake in Today Merchandise and Today Retail Network.

The company also acquired initial 49% stake in FM radio business of Reliance Broadcasting Network. The proposal is awaiting clearance from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.