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Network18 narrows losses in Q2, TV18 profit up 15%

Operating revenues of both the companies take a hit in the second quarter of FY20

Network18 Media & Investments' net loss in September quarter narrowed to Rs 24.68 crore as tax expenses reduced sharply. The company had reported a loss of Rs 66.90 crore in the corresponding quarter of last fiscal.

Consolidated operating revenue for the quarter fell by 5.1% year-on-year to Rs 1,174 crore on soft advertising revenue, but subscription revenue increased sharply by 43% YoY to Rs 461 crore in Q2.

At the operating level, the company's consolidated earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) dropped 17% to Rs 77 crore compared to year-ago.

Adil Zainulbhai

"Network18 successfully encapsulates News and Entertainment content, across National and Regional platforms, in both TV and digital mediums. We are fully geared for a Digital World, with differentiated content available on integrated platforms on a pipe-agnostic basis," Adil Zainulbhai, Chairman of Network18 said.

Network18 said its digital revenues grew 10% YoY to Rs 46 crore. Sharp display advertising growth in News18.com (especially vernacular) boosted revenues even amidst a tepid environment, it said.

Network18 further said operating margin fell due to operating losses of recently-launched app CricketNext (Rs 4 crore) and investments into the subscription model of MoneyControl, MC Pro.

Tax expenses for the quarter stood at Rs 10.21 crore, down 58.3% compared to the same period last year.

Network18's listed subsidiary TV18 owns and operates the broadest network of channels – 56 in India spanning news and entertainment.

On a consolidated basis, TV18 Broadcast's net profit rose 41.4% to Rs 23.60 crore on a 5.94% decline in revenue from operations to Rs 1127.13 crore in Q2 September 2019 over Q2 September 2018.

Consolidated operating EBITDA fell 3% to Rs 105 crore in Q2 September 2019 over Q2 September 2018.

The company's subscription revenue rose 43% in Q2 September 2019 over Q2 September 2018, as advertising environment remained soft. Cost optimizations boosted entertainment EBITDA margins to 11.4% in September 2019 as against 9.9% in September 2018.

Adil Zainulbhai, Chairman of TV18, said, "The advertising environment continues to remain challenging; however, positivity in subscription income and cost optimizations through tie-ups and tech deployments have filled-in the gap. Breadth of offerings remains our calling card, and the group continues to invest along the two identified axes of growth, regional and digital."

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