TV18 posts 8% top line growth, regional news slips

Reliance Industries’ controlled TV18 reported better results than in recent quarters, and said advertising revenue is showing signs of recovery.

The company reported a 8% growth in the top line for Oct-Dec quarter to Rs 271 cr, while profit before tax remained flat at Rs 16 cr. Profit from joint ventures jumped to Rs 19 cr from Rs 7 cr last year.

However, tax of Rs 19 cr, versus Rs 6 cr last year, resulted in net profit of only Rs 16 cr versus Rs 17 cr last year.

Growth was led by the national news channels such as CNBC TV18, CNN News18 and IBN7, while revenue at its recently started regional language news channels declined.

National news channel revenue jumped 14% on year to Rs 196 cr, while business at its regional news and infotainment channels fell 4% on year to Rs 75 cr.

However, it’s 50% joint ventures — Viacom18, IBN Lokmat and Indiacast — saw decent growth of around 11% on year. The total revenue of these joint ventures rose to Rs 998 cr. Revenue from these ventures are not included in the company’s overall top line.

The previous, or second, quarter had been characterized by poor advertising revenue due to the implementation of the GST and lingering effects of demonetization.

“The advertising environment has improved since Q2, but certain segments are still to see full recovery,” TV18 said.

“Tailwinds of strong financial markets, upcoming union budget, state elections and continued revival in consumer spending are positives,” it added.

The company said its “Business News” segment, that involves CNBC Bazaar, CNBC TV18 and CNBC Awaz, “continued its steady growth despite its niche nature,” the company said.

Hindi News too performed well and contributed to the 14% growth reported by ‘national’ channels within the group.

“Regional News offset some of the gains, led by slower ad-recovery and lower government spends this year,” it said.

“Appetite for high-impact advertising is reviving, but with a lag,” it said.

The company said, thanks to its regional channel launches, the group now has the highest reach in terms of any broadcast news company in India.

“Coupled with growing traction through our pan-India vernacular footprint, TV18 ended Q3 as #1 in News viewership,” it said.