Network18’s PAT more than doubles to Rs 333 cr for quarter ended Dec 31, 2020

The network added that even amidst the absence of BARC ratings, its news biz has continued to grow stronger and digital news revenue rose over 50% YoY for the second quarter in a row

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jan 20, 2021 9:52 AM

Network18 Media and Investments Ltd reported a profit after tax of Rs 333 crore- a two-fold increase for the quarter ended on December 31, 2020, against  Rs 148.29 crore on December 31, 2019, on improved performance, lower finance costs, and tax reversals. 

The company reported Q3 operating EBITDA up 21% YoY while operating margins continued to grow to a healthy 23%.  It further added, ad-recovery, cost-efficiency drove entertainment EBITDA margin to 25%, whereas TV News EBITDA margin ramped-up to 19%; marking four years of consistent improvement, and Digital News EBITDA margins rose to 9%, after achieving break-even in the last quarter.   

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. In this new year that is bringing in new hope, our constant endeavour will be to create value and deliver on our promise of class-leading content."

The network in the earnings report mentioned that the entertainment fully recovered from COVID impact, led by programming returning to normalcy and high-impact content driving ad-yields up during the festive season. Viewership remained strong despite sports (IPL) and peer non-fiction shows competing for eyeballs.  

Moreover, sustained focus on high-quality reportage sans hyperbole continues to bolster the News business, even amidst the absence of BARC ratings during the quarter and the digital news revenue rose over 50% YoY for the second quarter in a row, underscoring the success of our platforms in a fast-growing but hyper-competitive domain. 

Other highlights of the quarter- Subscription revenue up 2% YoY; lockdown impact on some consumer segments tapering. While domestic subscription revenue remained strong, offset stress in international.  The improved distribution tie-ups for TV and Digital continue to drive subscription growth for the network. 

Network mentioned that TV and Digital media consumption is growing in tandem, across delivery platforms.  TV viewership (ex-News, even as ratings have been blacked out during Q3), remains elevated 10% vs pre-COVID levels on a consistent basis, despite lockdown tapering.  Digital consumption of media continues to gain traction and currency, both through direct-to-customer offerings and telco-bundle. 

Digital gained momentum led by network-content core, interactivity, and distribution thrust. The company said that the Voot video-views rose 30% QoQ, driven by the complete resumption of network content. With an average daily time spent per viewer (TSV) of over 50 minutes, Voot continued to be a leader amongst direct peers. Niche edutainment product Voot Kids has a TSV of 86 minutes.  

Apart from digital interactivity in non-fiction TV shows like Bigg Boss being dialled-up, innovative interactive elements were introduced on Voot for even fiction shows. Interactive games were launched as the fifth vertical of Voot Kids.  

Pay-product Voot Select witnessed robust growth in subscribers, boosted by novel digital exclusives like a 24-hour Bigg Boss channel and content-around-content. MC Pro gained traction from AI-led analytical tools for investors, and access to content from renowned global publications like Financial Times.  Bundling of Voot with telcos, digital extensions of traditional distributors, and high-end nonmedia digital platforms further drove reach. The Web-app of Voot Kids was unveiled too.  MC Pro and Voot Select cross-promotion on Diwali drove user acquisition

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