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A MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN
In FY 2017-18, Network18 continued to invest in media - both TV and emerging media and repositioned itself for the continually changing market
THE YEAR IN RETROSPECT
FY 2017-18 was in many ways a year of continued investment in growth areas, while we consolidated certain businesses. I am very proud to state that Network18 TV channels now touch the lives of 70 crore Indians, representing 90% of the television universe. Our broadcast subsidiary TV18 made a strategic investment to acquire 1% additional stake in the Viacom18 entertainment JV, taking its overall stake to 51%, and gaining operational control. The move epitomizes our belief that in the rapidly evolving media and entertainment landscape, TV18 and affiliates will be instrumental in driving synergies and increasing agility across the multi-platform group.
In another strategic move, we consolidated the operations of another leading home-shopping player ShopCJ under the HomeShop18 umbrella, creating India''s largest home-shopping entity.
The merger brings benefits of scale and synergy, necessary to withstand competition. Following this, Homeshop18 ceases to be a subsidiary of your Company; nevertheless, Network18 will continue to be the largest shareholder.
Two launches were made around the end of the financial year - Colors Tamil in February 2018 and the digital destination of CNBC-TV18 in April 2018. With fresh subjects and cinematic quality content, Colors Tamil has already begun to make its presence felt in a highly competitive market, garnering 5% viewership share. The CNBC-TV18. com/CNBC-TV18 app are digital companions to our leading channel CNBC-TV18, and will be our premium digital platform offering business news and information.
March 2018 witnessed an important transition for your Company when all the general news channels were clubbed together under one mega brand - News18. Unveiled at the highly prestigious Rising India Summit, in the presence of Honourable Prime Minister of India and other dignitaries, the unification marked News18''s journey to become one of the largest news network brands in the world.
During the year, we had created a platform for state-level dialogues between political leaders and common people under the ''Rising Series'', and the Rising India Summit was the grand culmination of that series.
THE FUTURE BECKONS
As we move ahead, we are geared up for the next phase of growth, which we believe will come from two key areas: increasing consumption of content on digital platforms and surge in regional viewership.
As per a FICCI-EY report, the online video consuming audience has grown by a massive 64% to 250 million users in 2017, and is estimated to double to 500 million users by 2020, driven by rapid smart phone penetration, growing Internet speeds and low data charges. Even news consumption on mobile is surging. As per ComScore, 177 million people consumed news digitally in April 2017. Being leaders in the digital space with best-in-class properties, which we continue to improve, we are favourably positioned to make the most of this opportunity.
It is pertinent to mention here that one in every five Internet users in India use Network18''s digital properties. Money control is by far the largest finance platform; News18.com commands 40% more engagement than competitors; on First post, users spend 64% more time than competitors on every mobile visit; and VOOT has 35 million active users with average stickiness of 40 minutes. These numbers exemplify our digital might and we remain focussed on creating more digital-first content and promoting fresh ideas to woe diverse consumer preferences.
The industry is witnessing the trend of rising consumer preference for regional content. Towards this, we have made significant inroads. We have the largest regional news network, comprising 14 channels in 15 languages and covering 26 states. In our entertainment portfolio as well, we are filling important white spaces and already have 7 regional entertainment channels across six geographies, with a mix of localized and dubbed content.
We will continue to invest to get to an overall leadership position in media.
MESSAGE TO STAKEHOLDERS Our proactive investments and initiatives and industry tailwinds in advertising make for an exciting FY 2018-19 and beyond. We will remain focussed towards rolling out richer and more engaging content along with accelerating pace of innovation to grow value for all stakeholders.
I extend my heartfelt gratitude to every employee of Network18, who with their passion and commitment have taken this organization to greater heights. I also take this opportunity to thank all the directors and other stakeholders for their unrelenting trust in Network18.