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Network18 Q3FY21 profit jumps two-fold to Rs 333 crore

Digital news revenue rose over 50% YoY for the second quarter in a row

Network18 Media and Investments has reported 124.8% year-on-year growth in consolidated profit at Rs 333.38 crore for the quarter ended December 2020, following strong operating performance and full recovery in the entertainment business.

The company had posted a consolidated net profit of Rs 148.29 crore in the corresponding period last fiscal.

Revenue from operations in Q3FY21 declined 3.5% to Rs 1,422.45 crore compared to the corresponding period last year, with advertising revenue inching up and 2% YoY growth in subscription revenue.

Total expenses during the third quarter were lower at Rs 1,168.17 crore as compared to Rs 1,304.38 crore in the same period previous fiscal, the company said.

"Entertainment fully recovered from COVID impact, led by programming returning to normalcy and high-impact content driving ad-yields up during festive season. Viewership remained strong despite sports (IPL) and peer non-fiction shows competing for eyeballs," said the company in its BSE filing.

"Sustained focus on high-quality reportage sans hyperbole continues to bolster the News business, even amidst the absence of BARC ratings during the quarter," it added.

Network18 said the digital News revenue rose over 50% YoY for the second quarter in a row, underscoring the success of platforms in a fast-growing but hyper-competitive domain.

"With the tapering lockdown impact on some consumer segments, the domestic subscription revenue remained strong, offsetting stress in international, and improved distribution tie-ups for TV and Digital continue to drive subscription growth," the company added.

Adil Zainulbhai, Chairman of Network18 said, "The group has fully recovered from the effects of the pandemic, even as safety measures and innovative solutions to logistical challenges continue to be deployed. We have treated this period as an opportunity to rethink our businesses, and are emerging stronger and ready for the post-COVID world."

"As TV consumption remains healthy and Digital adoption grows in tandem, we believe the group is well positioned to straddle the space. The benefits of cost controls effected over the past year are now visible, as all three verticals are at much improved profitability levels," he added.

At operating level, the consolidated operating EBITDA jumped 21% year-on-year to Rs 324 crore in the quarter ended December 2020, with margin expanding 460 bps YoY to 22.8% in Q3FY21, backed by cost control measures.

"Broad-based cost controls implemented across business lines had improved efficiencies; driving margin uptick. Operating expenses was down 9% YoY even as we had a full content roster in the festive season, and linked thrust on marketing and distribution," said the company.

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