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Earnings Digest: TTML, DB Corp & TV Today

TTML Adds 1.9M Subscribers;  Net Losses Down 11%

BSE and NSE listed CDMA operator Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Limited has added 1.9 million subscribers in the December 2009 quarter to total 11.5 million in Maharashtra and Goa circles. Within Mumbai, the telco added over 0.5 million subscribers and now has 4 million subscribers in the city while it has 7 million in the rest of Maharashtra. No other details of the telco’s ARPU or key performance indicators have been released except that the wireless minutes of use grew 39 percent compared to the December 2008 quarter.

Details: Release| Consolidated | Standalone

Marketing & Promotional Expenditure Rises Further, Network Op Costs Up 19%

The company has recorded a 11% reduction in standalone net losses to Rs. 1032.9 million in the quarter ended December 2009. Losses had shot out of control in the September quarter to Rs. 1161.2 million from Rs. 342.6 million in the June quarter. This was primarily due to increased expenditure on marketing and promotions, possibly for its joint venture Tata DoCoMo,  a GSM operator, which has been bombarding our television screens with its ads and jingle. This quarter too has seen an increase in marketing and promotion costs to Rs. 1086.4 million, a 9.2% increase. Also, network operating costs have vaulted by 19.6 percent to Rs. 1434 million. EBITDA has risen 11.5 percent to Rs. 1350 million and its EBITDA margin of 22% has remained stable from the previous quarter.

In the quarter, Tata DoCoMo partnered with publishers ACK Media and Walt Disney Animation Studios for an application called Comix On The Gobut it has not been launched yet. BSNL agreed to share its network infrastructure including operation and maintenance services, on a shared basis, to both (the unlisted) Tata Telesevices Ltd and Tata Teleservices Maharashtra Ltd.

Tata Indicom also launched Photon TV for Tata Photon Plus subscribers to watch live television channels and recorded TV shows while on the move. After rival RCOM had a website relaunch, Tata Teleservices has also got a new website.

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DB Corp Net Up 148% YoY; Ad Rev Up, Lower Cost of Newsprint

The recently listed publisher of daily Dainik Bhaskar and six other publications, DB Corp, witnessed a capex of Rs. 3750 million with the upgradation of its printing units for Dainik Bhaskar and Divya Bhaskar. The upgrade will increase its full colour broadsheet printing capabilities and speed and translate to higher advertising revenues. Dainik Bhaskar is ranked second amongst top 10 daily newspapers in India by readership (according to IRS 2009 survey). For more details on DB Corp, its performance in FY 2009 and plans, read MediaNama.

DB Corp also prints and circulates the English news daily DNA in Gujarat and Rajasthan for Diligent Media Corp Ltd (DMCL) and its subsidiary Synergy Media Entertainment Limited runs the radio station 94.3 My FM in seven states. My FM revenues rose on the back of good advertising sales to Rs. 103 million but is still making losses.

Revenues from its various publications rose by Rs. 141 million. Advertising revenues rose 6.5 percent to Rs. 2085 million and total consolidated revenues to Rs. 2814 million year on year.

Details: Financials

DB Corp’s PAT rose 148 percent year on year to Rs. 506 million and EBITDA margins are at 34% for the quarter ended December 2009. EBITDA vaulted to Rs. 959 million from Rs. 516 million in December 2008 with lower cost of newsprint, cost optimisation measures such as rationalisation of manpower and overheads and the reduced pagination this year. It was helped by the growth in ad revenues in print and radio.

TV Today Net Up 29%

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India Today group and Living Media Digital owned broadcaster TV Today Networks Ltd, which runs news channels Aaj Tak and Headlines Today, has registered a profit of 136.92 million for the quarter ended December 2009, up 57.87 percent YoY and 29 percent up QoQ. Interestingly, advertising expenses have reduced 12.8 percent compared to December 2008 quarter. Competitor Zee News reported a profit of Rs 191.5 million while NDTV reported a loss of Rs 16.6 million for the quarter ended December.

Details: Financials
Income for the network has been reported at Rs 703.58 million, 9 percent higher than the Rs 645.45 million recorded in the quarter ended September 2009. Production costs for the television company rose 34 percent to Rs 86.99 million for December 2009 but the company appears to have sufficient controls in place to reduce expenditure – employee costs fell 14 percent QoQ to Rs 183.4 million and total expenditure rose only 2 percent sequentially, and were actually lower by 1.3% year on year.

India Today Group Digital, which owns the properties like India TodayBusiness TodayMoney TodayPreventionMen’s HealthWomanCosmopolitan as well as TV Channels like Aaj Tak and Headlines Today, is a joint venture between TV Today and Living Media Ltd. In the quarter, the group set up an exclusive e-commerce portal called Bag It Today.

Recently, the company launched the India Today magazine on Amazon’s ebook reader Kindle.

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