The company said consolidated EBITDA surged 29 percent in COVID year, to Rs 796 crore in the financial year 2020-21, with all the three verticals TV News, Entertainment and Digital News reporting robust financial performance
Network18 Media & Investments on Tuesday reported a more than three-fold (or 241.9 percent) increase in consolidated profit at Rs 205.8 crore for the quarter ended March 2021, compared to Rs 60.19 crore in the corresponding period, led by lower operating cost.
Consolidated revenue from operations declined 3.4 percent to Rs 1,414.7 crore in Q4FY21, from Rs 1,464.51 crore in Q4FY20.
“The group has successfully dealt with the challenges posed by the COVID pandemic, and posted much-improved profitability in a difficult year,” said Adil Zainulbhai, chairman of Network18.
“The connect of our diverse brands with consumers has only grown during this period. This bears testament to our business process resilience and innovation in adversity; factors which have proved critical and will continue to remain of prime importance as we navigate any future challenges,” he added.
The company in its BSE filing said entertainment advertising ex-live-events (which were deferred) has grown in high single digits, as recovery from COVID was cemented with a full roster of original programming. “Resumption of 2 channels on Freedish and strong performance of marquee properties Bigg Boss and Dance Deewane continues to drive up viewership and monetization.”
“While TV News ratings remained under blackout since October 2020, our News channel portfolio was largely unaffected as it grew across revenue-streams, including virtual events,” said the company, adding Digital News maintained its growth trajectory, rising around 50 percent YoY for the third consecutive quarter.
The company said its subscription revenue was flat YoY in Q4. “Domestic subscription revenue growth due to improved tie-ups in TV and Digital (both B2B and B2C) offset stress in International. Subscription revenue remained largely resilient to COVID impact, and grew 1 percent in FY21,” the company explained.
The Q4 operating EBITDA grew by 24 percent YoY to Rs 279 crore and Q4 operating margin expanded to highest ever around 19.7 percent, from 15.4 percent in the corresponding period.
“Entertainment operating margins are at a healthy around 19 percent in Q4. News margins rose to highest ever levels of around 27 percent in Q4, led by 5 percent YoY revenue growth. Digital News maintained its break-even performance,” the company said.
Consolidated profit in FY21 grew by 873.6 percent to Rs 546.59 crore, compared to Rs 56.14 crore in FY20, led by improved operating profitability and 33 percent lower interest costs. In the same period, revenue declined 12.2 percent to Rs 4,705.11 crore compared to previous year.
The company said consolidated EBITDA surged 29 percent in COVID year, to Rs 796 crore in the financial year 2020-21, with all the three verticals TV News, Entertainment and Digital News reporting robust financial performance.
The EBITDA margin rose 540 bps to 16.9 percent YoY, the highest ever EBITDA margins led by cost controls and innovative measures, the company added.
TV News margins near-doubled YoY to 16 percent, as ad-revenue grew through the year, and entertainment margins at 18.6 percent YoY are highest ever, led by cost efficiencies, said the company, adding Digital News broke even on a full year basis, driven by accelerated revenue growth.
Group debt sharply reduced to Rs 2,414 crore in March 2021, from Rs 3,265 crore in March 2020, Network18 said.
Disclaimer: Network18 is the parent company of TV18 Broadcast and Network18 Digital that publishes Firstpost.