TV18 Broadcast Limited has reported a consolidated operating EBITDA of Rs. 39 crore in Q1FY19 (a sharp improvement Y-o-Y), despite impact of losses from the startup of Colors Tamil. Business-as-usual EBITDA margin for entertainment business improved significantly, and losses in regional news also reduced. Consolidated operating revenues at Rs. 1088 crore grew 11 percent Y-o-Y (on a comparable basis).
The industry environment has been recovering, and advertising is on an upswing in general. Sentiment has been positive as growth revives in the new financial year, tempered in part by macro-factors like hardening interest rates and a depreciating INR. Subscription revenues for the entire bouquet grew 10 percent Y-o-Y. Advertising and other revenues benefitted from the improving industry environment and our full-portfolio offering.
TV18’s news viewership share rose to 10.3 percent; the news bouquet gained viewership share (driven by Hindi and regional channels) to emerge as the top news network in India. Business news maintained its growth by virtue of its industry leading position, and general news continued to be driven by Hindi news channels. Regional news revenues grew smartly after a prolonged weakness led by improved channel performance, integrated approach (including branding), and tailwinds from government/election-related spending. Infotainment has been growing well too, helped by History TV18’s new HD feed and digital extensions. All these led to an overall improvement in profitability, especially as losses in regional news fell sharply Y-o-Y on a fairly stable cost-base.
Viacom18 bouquet’s (30 channels) share of entertainment viewership rose to 11.4 percent. Colors ended the quarter as the leader in the pay-GEC charts in urban. Regional GECs in Marathi and Kannada gained, while Gujarati and Bengali too saw much improved monetization. A solid show by kids channels and MTV Beats offset genre weakness in English entertainment and youth. Business-as-usual margins more than doubled. Entertainment growth has been constrained by lower hours of non-fiction programming and lesser film premieres compared to the base quarter. The tweaks in programming have resulted in an improvement in EBITDA margins for the business. Adjusting for the Rs. 34 crore losses of Colors Tamil in Q1, business-as-usual margins for entertainment have expanded from sub-4 percent to 8.3 percent.
“Our television channels reach out to 700 million people across the country, making every 1 in 2 Indians our consumer. We have 53 domestic channels across news and entertainment, making us a formidable player. The improving advertising environment and our rising viewership are positives, as we continue investing into growing our offerings across genres.”