“The last Financial Year has been a year that consolidated TV18’s position as a leader in the fast-evolving media and entertainment space. We took conscious steps to elevate TV18 into one of the country’s premier broadcasting networks”
A year of consolidation
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 our channels now touch the lives of 700 million Indians.
We made a strategic investment to acquire 1% additional stake in the Viacom18 joint venture to increase our overall stakeholding to 51%, thereby gaining operational control. The JV partners are aligned in the vision of superior growth at Viacom18, and believe that this will add value and bring synergies across the Group.
We continued to fill white spaces in the regional content space. We understand India’s linguistic and sociocultural diversity and their appetite for consuming content in their local language; and hence have identified regional vernacular content as a key for future growth. In view of this, we strengthened our regional footprint with the launch of Colors Tamil around the end of the year in February 2018.
Colors Tamil with its fresh subjects and cinematic quality content has generated strong appeal among viewers, especially in the urban region. Within its first month of launch, the channel has made its presence felt in a highly competitive market, garnering 5% viewership share. With this, TV18 now has 7 regional entertainment and 14 regional news channels. We will continue to explore more such opportunities to deliver cutting edge localised content to underserved audiences.
The year saw us undertake an important transition as we brought together all the general news channels under one mega brand, News18. This was announced at the highly prestigious Rising India Summit, amidst the presence of the Honourable Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, and other dignitaries. The event was the culmination of the state-level Rising Series that we had initiated during the year to bring together all the stakeholders of the states and discuss a roadmap for development. The unification marks our journey towards becoming one of the largest news brands in the world.
Focussed on the digital opportunity
We believe that the digital arena will be a significant growth driver in the coming years. As the world increasingly converges to smaller screens, digital content consumption is bound to rise. Already, the online video consuming is witnessing a massive upsurge with viewer base growing by 64% to 250 million users in 2017. The increasing smartphone penetration, rising internet speeds and decreasing data charges will only intensify this growth. By 2020 it is expected that the userbase will double to 500 million. And this will drive monthly data consumption, which is expected to increase over four-fold from 3.9 GB per smartphone in 2017 to 18 GB by 2023. (Source: FICCI-EY Media and Entertainment report, 2018)
With our platform-agnostic approach and technological competence, we are well positioned to capitalise on this opportunity. We have leveraged this competence to build a powerful and scalable OTT platform, VOOT, which is garnering consumer admiration for its huge curated content library and user experience. VOOT had beevn downloaded by ~70 million users and has 35 million active users, spending an average of 40 minutes daily. We will remain focussed on creating more digital-first content and promote fresh ideas to cater to evolving consumer preferences.
Content innovation remains vital
TV18 has always been a believer of encouraging creativity and embracing artistic independence. It is this virtue that has enabled us to create path-defining content that has been running successfully year after year and continues to attract more audiences. With our strong team of storytellers, creative experts, journalists, anchors and actors, we will continue to launch innovative concepts and formats.
My colleagues and I appreciate the excellent work and commitment of our teams. Our efforts to bring on-stage some of the world’s most powerful people, encourage thought leadership and spread positive social message only goes on to show our social and economic importance to the nation.
I take this opportunity to thank all the other stakeholders for their sustained trust in us. We continue to seek their support to make TV18 much stronger than it is today.