TV18 Q4 operating rev up 41% due to ‘Padmaavat’ release, ad recovery

MUMBAI: Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) controlled TV18 Broadcast has seen a 41% increase in operating revenue for the quarter ended 31 March on the back of film revenue and broad-based recovery in advertising off a low-base last year.

The Q4 consolidated revenue jumped to Rs 1,540 crore as against Rs 1092 crore in the same quarter of the previous fiscal. Operating EBITDA was up 40% to Rs 61 crore compared to Rs 44 crore.

TV18 operates in three key categories news (national & regional), entertainment (Viacom18, IndiaCast), and infotainment (AETN18).

TV18 took operational control and increased its stake in Viacom18 to 51% by acquiring 1% equity from JV partner Viacom. Pursuant to this acquisition, Viacom18 and the distribution arm IndiaCast have been consolidated into TV18 financials from 1st March 2018.

The entertainment segment comprising Viacom18+IndiaCast posted 120% growth in operating EBITDA to Rs 38 crore compared to Rs 17 crore. Revenue from the segment was up 51% to Rs 1228 crore as against Rs 812 crore. The entertainment revenue was driven by general entertainment (both Hindi and English)
and kids channels.

The film business under Viacom18 Motion Pictures had clocked revenues of Rs 329 crore in Q4 FY18 vs Rs 72 Cr in Q4FY17 due to the release of ‘Padmaavat’. Apart from ‘Padmaavat’. the studio had released ‘Aapla Manus’ (Marathi), ‘House Next Door’ (Hindi) & ‘Daddy’s Home 2’ (English).

TV18 standalone operating EBITDA from general + business news segment dropped 20% to Rs 50 crore from Rs 63 crore in the year-ago period due to higher event costs and a low base of operating costs in Q4FY17.

The revenue grew 12% to Rs 228 crore from Rs 203 crore as business news maintained its healthy growth, even as financial markets saw some corrections. General news benefitted from the strong performance of Hindi News channel News18 India, as both rankings and revenue rose, in a fast-growing genre.

The EBITDA loss from regional news + infotainment narrowed to Rs 26 crore from Rs 36 crore due to cost optimisations. Operating revenue from the segment increased 8% to Rs 84 crore from Rs 77 crore.

The company noted that regional news continued to witness tepid revenues due to lack of government spends while infotainment continued to improve its performance steadily.

Network18 chairman Adil Zainulbhai said, “We continue to invest into filling whitespaces and creating the most compelling bouquet for the Indian consumer. This complements the strong performance of our flagships.”

On the full fiscal basis, the operating EBITDA jumped 41% to Rs 240 crore from Rs 170 crore. Revenue increased 16% to Rs 4813 crore from Rs 4142 crore.

Operating EBITDA from entertainment rose 43% to Rs 198 crore while revenue jumped 20% to Rs 3,781 crore. The operating EBITDA from general + business news segment was up 29% to Rs 157 crore as operating revenue increased 10% to Rs 735 crore.

The company’s operating EBITDA from regional news + infotainment expanded to Rs 115 crore from Rs 91 crore. Revenue fell 6% to Rs 297 crore compared to Rs 316 crore.

TV18’s news viewership share rose to 9.5% while Viacom18 bouquet’s (30 channels) share of entertainment viewership rose to 11.3%.

The company’s subsidiary Viacom18 filled a vital whitespace in its regional entertainment portfolio with the launch of Colors Tamil. Investments into funding operating losses of this new initiative were Rs 45 crore for the quarter.

It has garnered 5% viewership share and made strong inroads in urban markets like Chennai. The channel launched with 22 hours of original programming per month, and will ramp-up in content and improve distribution over the year.

With the rebranding of remaining 5 ETV and IBN Lokmat regional channels, the process of having a unified brand “News18” for all 17 general news channels in 15 languages covering 26 states is complete.

CNBC TV18’s digital destination CNBCTV18.com/CNBCTV18 app launched on 6 April. This premium digital platform is the landing page for the flagship news channel. It offers news and information business and the economy as well as stock markets. It provides fresh perspectives on entrepreneurship and leadership and also offers video-feed/clips of the TV channel.

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