Network18 Media & Investments Limited today announced its results for the quarter and half year ended 30th September 2019.
Highlights for the quarter
- Broadcast subscription tailwinds continue to benefit: Our subscription income grew by 43% YoY in Q2, continuing the 48% growth YoY witnessed in Q1. The implementation of the new tariff order (NTO) has created a transparent and non-discriminatory B2C regime. Flux around the NTO has largely settled, though the cable segment continues to face some billing and reporting issues. Our domestic yields have improved, led by the strength of our bouquet as demonstrated by consumer choice for our channels and packs. Improved distribution tie-ups give our channel portfolio unparalleled reach across TV & Digital.
- Green-shoots in late Q2 amidst general ad-weakness: The advertising environment continued to remain tepid during much of the past quarter. Weak macro-economic trends dragged down consumer spends and depressed broader corporate appetite for above-the-line marketing activity. However, certain categories of new-economy advertisers were bright spots, and tailwinds in regional and digital consumption continued to attract attention. Ad-spends began to rise led by the advent of the festive season late in the quarter, and big-ticket programmes and events planned around the same. We are hopeful that Government policies aimed at stimulating demand shall aid the recovery as we head into H2.
- News bouquet (20 channels) maintained its #1 position. TV18's Q2 viewership share in news increased further to 10.9%, up from 10.1% in Q1 consolidating its leadership.
- As election tailwinds witnessed in Q1 tapered off, Q2 operating revenue for News declined 2% YoY. Weakness in financial markets, lack of government ad-spending and limited international advertising compared with last year dragged growth.
- Tight rein on costs kept Opex near-flat YoY. The News business remains firmly above breakeven, as regional news bouquet continues to ramp-up and move towards profitability.
- Entertainment bouquet (Viacom18's 32 channels + AETN18's 4 infotainment channels) is #3 amongst national players: TV18's Q2 entertainment viewership share was 9.2%, vs 9.1% last quarter.
- GECs impacted portfolio revenue growth; Digital picking up steam: Macro-weakness and shift of channels from DD Freedish to Pay ecosystem continues to drag ad-revenues of GECs for the entre industry. Pushing of some high-end content vs last year for better monetization (i.e. planned delay in the launch of Big Boss, shifting of IIFA awards to Q3, etc) makes the base not fully comparable.
- Improved subscription income and cost controls raised EBITDA 7% YoY: Sharp pullback in broadcast costs through optimizations raised EBITDA margins to 11.4% vs 9.9% in Q2FY19. This is despite investments to the tune of Rs 13 Cr in regional movie channels (Kannada and Gujarati Cinema) and paid-offerings (VOOT Kids & International). Excluding these, BAU margins improved to 12.9%. BAU margins include the impact of initiatives launched more than a year ago but are still in gestation, including Voot and Colors Tamil.
- Digital-only subscription a nascent, high-growth area of impetus: We have witnessed robust uptake for the subscription product MoneyControl Pro launched in Q1. The product underscores the impact of a strong brand and superior features at a class-leading price-point. Voot, the primary OTT VOD platform for the group, shall soon be launching its freemium version with offerings like digital exclusive and digital-first broadcast content as well as original content behind a pay-wall. Kids edutainment product Voot Kids was soft-launched in Q1 with a niche and highly differentiated offering, and shall be progressing to commercial operations behind a pay-wall in this fiscal.
- Network18 digital is #2 in digital news / information category, has ~180 mn unique visitors
- Network18 digital revenues grew 10% YoY to Rs 46 Cr. Sharp display advertising growth in News18.com (especially vernacular) boosted revenues even amidst a tepid environment.
- Operating margin fell due to operating losses of recently launched app CricketNext (Rs 4 Cr) and investments into the subscription model of MoneyControl, MC Pro.
Mr. Adil Zainulbhai, Chairman of Network18, said: "Network18 successfully encapsulates News and Entertainment content, across National and Regional platforms, in both TV and Digital mediums. We are fully geared for a Digital world, with differentiated content available on integrated platforms on a pipe-agnostic basis. Impetus on seeding new business models and germinating fresh ideas are the hallmarks of our Digital business, which is backed by a TV content backbone that we continue to invest in."
Shares of NETWORK18 MEDIA & INVESTMENTS LTD. was last trading in BSE at Rs.20.05 as compared to the previous close of Rs. 19.65. The total number of shares traded during the day was 21808 in over 206 trades.
The stock hit an intraday high of Rs. 20.5 and intraday low of 20. The net turnover during the day was Rs. 441157.