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Times Internet eyes breakeven next year, targets $1.25 bn revenue by FY21

MUMBAI: Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd (BCCL), India’s largest media conglomerate with presence across print, television and FM radio broadcasting, has also built a digital powerhouse.

Times Internet Ltd (TIL), the digital arm of Times Group, is eyeing breakeven next year.

TIL is targeting revenue of $1.25 billion by FY21 with a 30% EBITDA margin.

The company has seen explosive growth. It has acquired 12 firms over the last four years and invested in more than 50 companies.

“We aim to break even next year, and our FY21 target is to reach $1.25 billion in net revenues, operating at a 30% EBITDA margin,” TIL CEO Gautam Sinha has said in a blog.

The company was looking at multifold growth in engagement and monetisation per user with its comprehensive TIL platform, which includes programmatic ad buying platform.

“With our larger and established properties already profitable, it is now time to look at breakeven at TIL level even for our growth businesses and early- stage bets and drive profitability at scale,” Sinha averred.

Reflecting on the company’s journey, Sinha said that the pre-2012 years were all about building the digital extension of Times Group.

“Times Internet was the digital arm of the company, reaching out to the new digital consumer of India, across their favourite channels—be it news, sports, entertainment, fashion or food. It was a new initiative none of us knew what the end state could look like,” Sinha noted.

Sinha also recalled that in 2012, when Satyan Gajwani became the CEO of Times Internet, and he transitioned from CTO to COO, the duo decided to change Times Internet DNA to be a digital product/tech company from a pure-play media company.

“One of the many things it led to was to have a five-year plan for our culture and our team. The team now had to be much entrepreneurial, with a strong product/tech background and a hunger to take and achieve audacious goals,” he stated.

The internet company brought in more decentralisation with an emphasis on speed of execution. Each digital property of TIL became an independent decision-making unit with its own views on how it wanted to build its business. Each unit took independent calls on how it wanted to engage its customers, build its own product road maps and work culture, he said.

Sinha pointed that the other key initiative during this phase was setting up of Tlabs, an early-stage, mentor-driven accelerator.

Tlabs, he said, was one of the first accelerators in the country and unlike any other corporate accelerator, it had an independent charter and was always aligned to making the entrepreneur successful.

“As expected, Tlabs brought in a sudden influx of young entrepreneur energy and vision. We became like multiple entrepreneurial units operating within the decentralised structure of the overall group. The stories that we started telling each other then became the culture we wanted to develop for our company,” he expressed.

TIL today has 35+ digital products that garner over 250 million monthly active users, which is more than 60% of India’s internet users. “Over the last four years, we have acquired over 12 companies and have invested in more than 50 companies,” he stated.