Times Network MD & CEO, M.K. Anand declares that over the previous financial year, their revenues have grown by 32-33%. This was achieved by primarily improving the distribution and secondly standing up to advertisers and asking for higher ad rates.
“We (over the previous financial year) have grown by about 32-33%. We are expecting at least 25% this year in terms of total revenues. My personal target is to have a CAGR of 25-27%. I know the industry is growing at about 15-16%,” said Anand.
Anand also speaks about launching of new channel Property Now and the advertisers that have associated with it and the tie-up between BARC and TAM.
What is the revenue growth of Times Network in FY2015? How much are you looking to grow by next year?
The year before, the year that I came in and the last year that we closed the books, we have grown by about 32-33%. We are expecting at least 25% this year in terms of total revenues. My personal target is to have a CAGR of 25-27%. I know the industry is growing at about 15-16%. We believe that we are a lot more than what we have been asking for and that is fundamentally what we have tried to do. First of all I think our content was always superior, whether it is ET Now, Times Now, Movies Now, Zoom, or Romedy Now. The one thing we did not do right was we were not fully and totally distributed. We were distributed but there were limitations because obviously distribution is a technically challenging game and we don’t have a GEC for instance. Second is after delivering that I think this is a business where you need to go and ask. If you do not stand up you will not be counted. So somewhere down the line that hesitation was deflating our monetization ability. So that correction in monetization will give us a one and half to two years of growth, beyond that product growth and launches are going to be the growth drivers. I believe that if I am able to drive a 25-28% CAGR over three years I should be able to double the business over last year. That is my target to myself and I am on target.
What are the brands that will be associating for the launch Property Now? What are the brand categories it will be primarily targeting?
The real estate segment, dotcoms, accessories, building materials and luxury products. We have already more or less signed up the prelaunch partnership offers and I am practically launching the channel with first year’s revenues in my bag.
Post the launch of Property Now will you be looking to the launch of other niche business segment channels?
Within the existing brands channels, I wouldn’t go and launch channels. But yes in ET Now for instance there is going to be a renewed focus on auto, travel, luxury, SMEs and Nivesh. So these are all important focus activities going beyond just the channel. The channel is getting more aggressive and active as a visual grammar. We have been in a certain look and feel and style which has worked for us and have reached to that No.1 position but I believe that the expansion of ET Now is to be able to give a signal to viewers that it is not for an exclusive set of technically sound viewers. It is not for me is a general feeling. So we want to get to that place where we want to keep the loyalists and the technically sound audience but we also want to keep certain part of our channel accessible enough to break out and into the general news set from that point of view. So we already have our eyes on the fact that in English the No.2 channel in the country only next to Times Now, because NDTV, IBN and India Today in terms of numbers are already less than us. So we believe that if we are able to get more general news viewers graduating into business news viewers it is anyway good for everything that we talk about with the financial news point of view.
Second is using the weekend and certain evening slots we want to go look at industries which are also consumer interest industries such as travel, luxury, automobiles and even real estate. Real estate is also a news channel plus a lifestyle content which we want to go into. I think at the end of the year or year and half I would see that the channel would have expanded the reach a lot more than what it currently is. We are not looking at being category leader because it doesn’t matter as the category is too small. I will openly admit that that it is one and half channel category where there are four players. Although two players are practically down and out, between the other two players there is a jostling for space and it is going to be difficult for both channels. We want to be in this category and expand the category.
What will the difference the merger between TAM and BARC mean to the industry?
We are one of the proponents of BARC. We are one of the corporate guaranteers of BARC as a member of IBF. We support BARC, we want BARC and we think it is great. I don’t think that TAM was as bad as people would like to call it. I have not called TAM names, TAM is great. But since this is an industry initiative, we support it. So I think the lingering presence of TAM was going to distract. I mean it wasn’t distracting right now. We have for instance a good position, where we went from No.1 position to No.1 position. The only place we had confusion in TAM was ET where we leaders till last year and then there were some run-away numbers that the competition had in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh which we were investigating with TAM. In the mean time, BARC came in and became No.1. We didn’t have an issue and if I was No.2, I still wouldn’t have an issue. I think numbers are numbers. Using it on the side and unnecessarily putting a spin in an industry which is anyway looking for arguments to put you down was unfair.