TV18 Q1 operating profit surges to Rs 39 cr despite losses from Colors Tamil

MUMBAI: Network18-owned TV18 Broadcast’s consolidated operating EBITDA has surged 2.7 times to Rs 39 crore for the quarter ended 30 June despite a Rs 34 crore loss from Colors Tamil. The company’s operating EBITDA stood at Rs 14 crore in the previous fiscal.

The operating EBITDA improved due to lower losses from the regional news broadcasting business and double-digit growth from the entertainment business (Viacom18+IndiaCast) and business/general news business.

The company’s operating revenue increased 11% to Rs 1088 crore compared to Rs 979 crore. Subscription revenue increased 10% to Rs 301 crore from Rs 273 crore. Advertising and other revenues benefitted from the improving industry environment and our full-portfolio offering, the company stated.

The company stated that Viacom18 and IndiaCast became subsidiaries of TV18 from 1st March 2018. Hence, the reported financials of TV18 consolidate these entities only from that date.

EBITDA from entertainment business increased 25% to Rs 35 crore from Rs 28 crore in the year ago period. Revenue from the segment was up 10% at Rs 832 crore as against Rs 759 crore.

The general/business news segment EBITDA was up 13% to Rs 26 crore from Rs 23 crore. Revenue grew 14% to Rs 173 crore as against Rs 153 crore. The regional news EBITDA loss narrowed 41% to Rs 22 crore from Rs 37 crore while revenue expanded 24% to Rs 83 crore from Rs 67 crore.

The industry environment has been recovering, and advertising is on an upswing in general. Sentiment has been positive as growth revives in the new financial year, tempered in part by macro-factors like hardening interest rates and a depreciating rupee.

TV18’s news bouquet comprising 20 channels rose to 10.3% driven by Hindi and regional channels. The share of Viacom18’s bouquet of 30 channels rose to 11.4%.

Network18 chairman Adil Zainulbhai said, “Our television channels reach out to 700 million people across the country, making every 1 in 2 Indians our consumer. We have 53 domestic channels across news and entertainment, making us a formidable player. The improving advertising environment and our rising viewership are positives, as we continue investing into growing our offerings across genres.”

TV18 said regional GECs in Marathi and Kannada gained, while Gujarati and Bengali saw improvement in monetisation. It further stated a solid show by kids channels and MTV Beats offset genre weakness in English entertainment and youth.

The company said that the regional news revenues grew smartly after a prolonged weakness led by improved channel performance, integrated approach (including branding) and tailwinds from government/election-related spending.

“Infotainment has been growing well too, helped by History TV18’s new HD feed and digital extensions. All these led to an overall improvement in profitability, especially as losses in regional news fell sharply YoY on a fairly stable cost-base,” TV18 said in its quarter result presentation.

The company further stated that entertainment topline growth has been constrained by lower hours of non-fiction programming and lesser film premieres compared to the base quarter, and a late start for season 3 of marquee franchise ‘Naagin’ which has been the number 1 fiction show.

The tweaks in programming have resulted in an improvement in EBITDA margins for the business. Adjusting for the Rs 34 Cr losses of Colors Tamil in Q1, business-as-usual margins for entertainment have expanded from sub-4% to 8.3%.

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