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Network18 expects flat ad revenue till September; 172 M visitors across digital

Network18’s digital revenues were impacted by the weak ad environment, but the impact was lesser than that on broadcasting. News18.com’s Indian languages sites have been displaying continue ad growth, “despite an uncertain macro-environment”. “Digital continues to benefit from consumption tailwinds that have been further boosted during the lockdown,” the company said, without specifying further. Network18 chairman Adil Zainulbhai said increasing subscription revenue will help pull through. Network18 has 172 million visitors across all digital services, down from 207 million visitors.

Network18’s digital portfolio consists of news publications such as FirstPost and MoneyControl, CNBCTV18.com, News18.com, and BookMyShow.It also includes education website Topper and celebrity content website In.com.

  • News18.com: 2x YoY growth in languages; claims to be “number 1” in vernacular news on mobile.
  • MoneyControl Pro: 1.5 lakh subscribers, added 50,000 subscribers in Jan-Mar 2020. Traffic numbers have not been disclosed, but there was 28% YoY growth in average monthly unique visitors in Q3FY20.
  • CNBCTV18.com: Increased traffic 2x over Q3
  • BookMyShow: 5 million app installs, 2 million fewer than last quarter. It is optimising “costs across the board to mitigate the impact”. Indian cities began shutting theatres and cinemas as early as March 10. Even after May 3, when the lockdown is scheduled to end, it is unlikely (and unclear if) that non-essential public spaces will be re-opened.
  • Voot: 100 monthly active users; average daily viewership: 45 minutes; 1.5 billion views for BiggBoss. Its freemium service Voot Select was launched this quarter. Rs 13 crore was invested into Voot Select and Kids (and in Kannada and Gujarati movie channels).
  • Operational revenue from “digital, print, others and & intercompany elim.” fell 16.6% QoQ and 20% YoY to Rs 40 crore.

Apart from digital, Network18 operates in news & entertainment broadcast channels, cable and ISPs via Den and Hathway, produces movies, and publishes a handful of magazines. Network18 announced the merger of its subsidiary TV18, and cable companies Den Networks and Hathway into the company in February 2020.

Television metrics; ad revenue expected to be down till September

Network18 said COVID-19 has impacted all media, but news has been impacted to a lesser degree. It even claimed that its share in TV viewership has increased from 7% to 20% (it’s unclear over what period). “Entertainment has been more impacted as broadcasters have replaced original programming with re-runs due to the shuttering of content production at present,” the company said.

Network18 and its subsidiary TV18 operate 56 broadcast channels, including News18 (in English and 14 regional channels), CNBC TV18, CNBC Awaaz, Colors, VH1, MTV Beats, Comedy Central, childrens’ channels such as Nick. The company expects advertising revenue to remain down for most of H1FY20 i.e. until September 2020. It said that the government’s policy interventions, such as protecting the affected, fiscal stimulus to restart economic activity, and monetary easing to infuse liquidity will determine the level of normalcy starting October 2020. TV18 channels got a 557 million viewers, up from 524 million last quarter.

News

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  • CNBC TV18 and News18: market shares at 69% and 11.3%, flat over Q3
  • CNBC Awaaz: market share fell 57.7%, down from 61.5% in Q3
  • CNN News18: market share 10.9%, down from 11.5%
  • News18’s regional channels: 452 million viewers, up from 423 million viewers in Q3. News18 Rajasthan’s market share dropped to 54% from 65%

Entertainment & Children

  • Colors” 19.6% of the pay-GCE market. Viewership across all general entertainment channels:16.4%, up from 12.8% in Q3
  • Colors Cineplex: Viewership at 5.2%, up from 4.7% in Q3. It aired four matches of Road Safety Legend and Cricket World Series 2020, before the events were cancelled due to COVID-19
  • Nick: 19.8% market share, down from 21% in Q3; entire kids’ portfolio: 34% market share
  • Comedy Central: 34% market share, down from 38%; VH1 34% (down from 18%), Colors Infinity 9% (down from 7%)
  • MTV Beats: market share 13.5%, down from 14.4% in Q3

Infotainment: History TV18: 15.1% market share, flat over Q3; FYI TV18: 56.3% market share, up from 51.4% in Q3

Viacom18 Studios released Jamtara, Tajmahal and web-series She on Netflix.

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