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ALT Balaji downloaded over 2 million times, no subscription numbers released

In Q4 2017, the apps for ALT Balaji, Balaji Telefilms’s streaming service, were downloaded over 2 million times in 75 countries, though the company did not disclose how many of those translated into paid subscriptions. The digital business is balance sheet negative because of continuing investments to scale it. Their TV revenue also declined slightly from the previous quarter, because two shows were discontinued in Q4 — however, their TV revenue was significantly higher than the same quarter last year, at Rs 80.9 crore, compared to Rs 55.6 crore in Q4-16. Their earnings per hour of programming also increased modestly over the previous quarter.

Balaji didn’t release any films this quarter, leading to a YoY decline in their quarterly revenue, from Rs 18.7 crore in 2016 to Rs 10.5 crore this year. The company claimed in its investor presentation that the leak of the films Udta Punjab and Great Grand Masti before theatrical release “severely impacted” its profitability, estimating losses from piracy at Rs 36 crore. It added that it would now only fund movies that had an “extremely favorable risk-reward profile”.

ALT Balaji’s partnerships

As Balaji works to scale its newly launched streaming service, it has entered into partnerships with smartphone manufacturers, mobile wallets, and Ola’s in-cab entertainment service Ola Play. The company also lists Microsoft, Apple, Google, YouTube, and the Airtel Payments Bank as partners. It also partnered with PayPal to receive payments from internationals subscribers, and with payments processor PayU for UPI. The company listed over 26 upcoming shows that will be added on ALT Balaji soon.

Financials

— Profit after tax for the quarter was Rs 0.3 million, and Balaji incurred overall loss after tax for the financial year of Rs 29.7 crore (compared to Rs 16 crore Q4-16 loss, and Rs 3.6 crore loss in FY16).
— Q4 revenues stood at Rs 94.5 crore vs Rs 83.2 crore in Q4-16
— FY17 revenues for the movie business stood at Rs 126.3 crore vs Rs 22.5 crore in FY16. (FY16 had only one film release, whereas FY17 had four)
— TV revenue declined QoQ but increased YoY. The company made Rs 80.9 crore in revenue from its TV business, compared to Rs 55.6 crore in the same quarter last year.

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

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