TV18 Broadcast, a listed subsidiary of Network18, has clocked a massive 76.8 percent year-on-year growth in consolidated profit at Rs 251 crore for the quarter ended March 2021 despite the COVID-19 impact. The profit in the corresponding period was Rs 142 crore.
The profit growth was driven by lower operating expenses including operating cost, finance cost and depreciation. The 41.2 percent YoY fall in tax expenses at Rs 20 crore also supported profitability.
"Broad-based cost controls helped offset COVID impact and sharpened operating leverage. Q4 operating expenses were down 10 percent YoY despite the full resumption of programming and calibrated investments into marketing/distribution in tandem with monetisation opportunities," said TV18 Broadcast in its BSE filing.
Revenue from operations declined 5.4 percent year-on-year to Rs 1,348 crore for the quarter ended March 2021.
"The group has successfully dealt with the challenges posed by the COVID pandemic, and posted much-improved profitability in a difficult year. Our brands have continued to grow in strength and salience during this period," said Adil Zainulbhai, Chairman of TV18.
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"Our plans to invest in digital growth and our resolve to excel in television remain constants amidst a dynamic business environment," he added.
At the operating level, consolidated operating EBITDA increased 16 percent year-on-year to Rs 279 crore in Q4FY21 and operating EBITDA margin expanded to 20.7 percent in Q4FY21, the highest ever, from 16.9 percent in the corresponding period.
"Entertainment operating margins are at a healthy around 19 percent in Q4FY21. News margins rose to highest-ever levels of around 27 percent in Q4, led by 5 percent YoY revenue growth," the company said, adding consolidated revenue ex-film production was flat YoY, despite deferral of award shows.
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, TV18 Broadcast said.
Resumption of 2 channels on Freedish and strong performance of marquee properties Bigg Boss and Dance Deewane continued to drive up viewership and monetization, it added.
The company said subscription revenue was flat YoY in Q4FY21 with domestic subscription continuing to grow.
"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.
TV18 said TV viewership has settled higher above pre-pandemic levels. TV households have increased to 210 million versus 197 million in 2018 as per BARC, and penetration is still at 66 percent, and TV in India, therefore, is a growing medium with further headroom, the company added.
Digital engagement continued to grow linked to the volume of high-quality content and key events, the company said, adding industry sources indicate around 10 percent YoY increase in OTT video consumption.
In the financial year 2020-21 - the COVID year, consolidated profit shot up 78.9 percent to Rs 746 crore compared to the previous year. Consolidated revenue from operations fell 13.1 percent to Rs 4,498 crore YoY, on improved operating profitability and 38 percent lower interest costs.
Consolidated operating EBITDA in FY21 increased 15 percent YoY to Rs 808 crore with both verticals TV News and Entertainment reporting robust financial performance, said TV18 Broadcast.
Operating EBITDA margin expanded 440 bps to 18 percent compared to the previous year, the highest ever margin led by cost controls and innovative measures, the company added.
TV18 Broadcast said TV News margins near-doubled YoY to 16 percent, as ad revenue grew throughout the year, and entertainment margins at 18.6 percent YoY were highest ever, led by cost efficiencies.
Group debt sharply reduced to Rs 893 crore at the end of March 2021, from Rs 1,775 crore in March 2020, the company added.Disclaimer: TV18 Broadcast is a subsidiary of Network18 Media & Investments Ltd which publishes Moneycontrol.