Despite flagship channel, Zee News, taking 30 per cent cut in its inventory and operating in a difficult economic environment, Zee News registered an 8.2 per cent growth in operating revenues. Operating revenues for Q1 FY13 stood at Rs 688.8 million as compared to Rs 636.6 million in Q1 of last fiscal.
Ad revenues displayed better growth than the news industry in general at Rs 463.2 million, a growth of 6.2 per cent over Rs 436.4 million in the same period last year.
On the other hand, subscription revenues were down three per cent at Rs 176.0 million. However, the real growth in subscription revenues was higher as they were booked net of expenses. This change was necessitated due to the formation of Media Pro with effect from July 1, 2011, a joint venture, which pays subscription revenues to Zee, net of expenses.
Zee expects the completion of Phase 1 of cable digitisation to add substantially to the subscription revenues.
In a prepared statement, Subhash Chandra, Chairman, Zee News said, “Our results are in line with our expectations in a scenario wherein growth is under pressure for a lot of sectors. There is an overhang of inflation which is looming over the different sectors as well as the consuming class in India. Always having a focus on current deliverables, our strategies are born out of a long-term vision. This has enabled us to tide various troubled waters. A couple of aspects of business environment are expected to improve with slow but sure cable digitisation.”
Punit Goenka, Managing Director, Zee News added here, “To encash in on cable digitisation, we have cut down inventory of our flagship channel Zee News by 30 per cent under the Maximum News, Minimum Breaks initiative. While, the company has shown revenue growth despite the inventory cut, the viewership increase should happen in due course of time. The delay in deadline of Phase 1 of cable digitisation is a speed bump in improving the business models of television news broadcasters. Our new strategic initiatives plan is in place to leverage increased viewer choice as well as improved business model post cable digitisation.”