Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
Bright fiscal seen for listed media cos
Mumbai , May 24
LISTED media companies, which were in consolidation phase post the Conditional Access System (CAS) debacle, should find fiscal 2004-'05 a much better year, analysts and company officials say.
Industry sources maintain that the year ended March 2004 was not one of the best years for media companies. This was primarily because of the confusion over the implementation of CAS, the slump in advertising revenue and far too much cricket, they reasoned.
While a majority of analysts maintain that the numbers have been in line with expectations, there are those who believe that right now there is nothing exciting about these companies. "This is not a business where you grow 30-40 per cent quarter on quarter. There is no capacity expansion possible, one has to move from one milestone to another," reasoned an analyst with a leading broking house.
If one were to do a quick recap randomly, in terms of numbers, Zee Telefilms did end the year on an improved note, with net profit at Rs 310.17 crore as against Rs 224.45 crore in the previous year. Revenues were also up at Rs 1,369.55 crore (Rs 1,207.92 crore) and operating profit at Rs 445.72 crore (Rs 375.66 crore).
In the fourth quarter, the company posted a net profit of Rs 87.6 crore, an 8.4 per cent increase over Rs 80.76 crore in the corresponding quarter last year. The fourth quarter numbers indicate signs of improvement, industry officials say.
This is also true of Balaji Telefilms, which reported better performance in its fourth quarter compared to the full year. For the fourth quarter, Balaji reported a net profit of Rs 12.34 crore (Rs 11.97 crore) on sales of Rs 45.85 crore (Rs 44.53 crore). For the full year, however, it reported a dip in net profit at Rs 55.41 crore (57.41) on sales of Rs 178.30 crore (Rs 185.96 crore).
According to a company official, Balaji Telefilms has been in a phase of consolidation during the fiscal ended March 2004. "The previous fiscal was good, and it is not possible to sustain such a good growth rate always," he said, but added that the current year should augur well for the company.
The television software company has launched three serials during the current quarter. "Our realisations have improved. Going forward, we should be able to improve our performance as a number of channels have approached us for serials and programmes," the official said.
Balaji has launched an afternoon serial, titled Kesar, on Star Plus, a new serial, Kavyanjali, on Surya TV and one programme on Gemini TV. Yet there are those who feel that the company's ability to improve its realisations is limited.
There is a perception that Zee Telefilms' performance was also not up to expectations. "Though advertising revenue as well as subscription revenue have risen there is a slowdown in the growth rate," an analyst said.
Television Eighteen ended the year with a net loss of Rs 3.93 crore on net sales of Rs 43.12 crore.
From an analyst perspective, there is interest in NDTV. The fourth quarter numbers of NDTV are expected to be much better, as ratings for both its English as well as its Hindi News channels have improved considerably.
"This channel is a clear leader, and the number two is way behind. TV Today's Aaj Tak does not have this clear lead. It faces stringent competition from NDTV India and Star Plus," another analyst said.
Yet going forward all eyes will be on the new Government, as it is from here that the triggers for this sector are expected. "Once there is more clarity on issues such as DTH and CAS, things are only going to improve," said an analyst tracking the sector.
Stories in this Section
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | The Hindu Images | Home |
Copyright © 2004, The
Hindu Business Line. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of
The Hindu Business Line