Network18 reported consolidated revenue of Rs 1236 crore for the quarter ended March 31, 2019 (Q4FY19), a fall of 19.6% from the previous quarter and an increase of 46% year-on-year. Profit after Tax reduced by 197% over the previous quarter, and reduced by 92% year-on-year. The company’s revenue from “Web Digital, Print & Others” actually fell by 13% over the previous quarter to Rs 49 crore. Network18 digital claims to have 105 million unique visitors, and digital revenues grew 7% YoY to Rs 49 Cr, which was tepid since the lack of a Union budget impacted MoneyControl. Operating margin fell due to investments in the launch of FirstPost Print, and investments of Rs 17 crore in the relaunch and marketing around IPL for CricketNext. Other expenses were in the revamp of IN.com, and the expansion of MoneyControl into subscription models.

FY19 EBITDA was up 13% YoY despite investment of Rs 131 crore into new regional channels, the launch of FirstPost, and expansions in print and digital including Voot International & Kids and CricketNext.

Notes from digital business

  • Firstpost Print now offers subscription, a dedicated homepage for Print, product page and newsletter. It has partnered with Literature Live and Tedx, and bagged the rights to live broadcast their events and other digital content.
  • MoneyControl’s traffic in the news section increased 29% over the previous quarter, its subscription product ‘MoneyControl Pro’ has seen over 50% growth in subscribers over the last quarter, prompting the launch of four ‘premium content’ sections; the number of subscribers is unknown.
  • CricketNext‘s app went live in November last year, a marketing campaign campaign was undertaken around IPL to launch the brand. The website brought on board writers and contributors and included in-depth stats-based analysis, analytical columns, satire, etc.
  • Entertainment portal IN.com was relaunched in August last year.
  • News18 languages saw a 49% growth in viewership over the last quarter, “indicating the rising strength of the brand and the tailwinds in vernacular consumption in digital too, alongside broadcasting”.
  • BookMyShow saw 5 million app downloads this quarter; its foray into theatre continues as it is now collaborating for ‘Mughal e Azam’ for ticketing and production. It is managing ticketing for four IPL Teams – Rajasthan Royals, Chennai Super kings, Mumbai Indians & Kolkata Knight Riders – and venue accreditation management.
  • HomeShop18 “continues to face strong headwinds” and is closely monitored for sustenance, with increase in competition from e-commerce, rising channel distribution costs, and vendor supply issues. The focus has been on rightsizing costs, integration with ShopCJ, and improving contribution margin.
  • Viacom18’s OTT platform VOOT has seen gross downloads of 132 million, with an average daily viewership of over 45 minutes.

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