Is media industry past its worst phase? Revival seen after post-GST downtrend

  • The country’s media and entertainment sector grew at a robust pace in the calendar year 2018 at 13.4 percent on a year-on-year basis to reach a size of Rs 1.67 trillion

  • This was aided by a strong recovery following the temporary ad-revenue hiccups post-implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the previous year, the RIL annual report for 2018-19 noted

  • Newtwork18, one of the largest media conglomerates in the country, too benefited from this growth recovery

The country’s media and entertainment sector grew at a robust pace in the calendar year 2018 at 13.4 percent on a year-on-year basis to reach a size of Rs 1.67 trillion. This was aided by a strong recovery following the temporary ad-revenue hiccups post-implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the previous year, the RIL annual report for 2018-19 noted.

Network18, one of the largest media conglomerates in the country, too benefited from this growth recovery. While the first three quarters of FY 2018-19 were buoyed by the revival in ad-spends and rising traction with viewers across the board, the last quarter dragged a bit, the report observed.

 Is media industry past its worst phase? Revival seen after post-GST downtrend

Representational image. Courtesy-CNBC-TV18

On a comparable basis, for the fiscal year 2019, the group’s ex-film revenue rose 7 percent on a year-on-year basis supported by regional growth and a reviving advertising environment. Operating EBITDA in FY 2019 rose 13 percent y-o-y despite Rs 131 crore additional investments into regional channels and digital expansions (VOOT International & Kids and CricketNext), it said. This was led by regional news gestation losses compressing 42 percent y-o-y, and business-as-usual.

Entertainment EBITDA margins rose 9 percent against 5 percent in FY 2017-18. EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes), however, was impacted by the fair valuation of financial assets.

Network18's TV news benefited from election-related advertising. Standalone news revenue grew by 29 percent on YoY basis while digital revenues grew 34 percent YoY to Rs 47 crore. Growing ad-spends in News18.com (especially vernacular) boosted revenues amidst a tepid environment.

Network18 is RIL’s flagship investment into the media and entertainment sector and is one of the most diversified media conglomerates in the country, with footprints across television broadcasting, movie production and distribution, digital content and commerce, print magazines, mobile content and allied media services.

The subsidiary, TV18 has cemented its number one position amongst news networks in India. Its 20 domestic channels span 15 languages, providing a solid leadership in reach. With a 10.6 percent share of news viewership in FY19, TV18 maintains its leadership even versus to legacy brands and free-to-air networks.

Another subsidiary, Viacom18 is the youngest and fastest-growing premium entertainment network in India. It is the Number 3 pan-India entertainment broadcaster (ex-sports), with an 11.1 percent viewership share in FY19. Apart from TV broadcasting, its full portfolio-offering includes a film studio renowned for clutter-breaking cinema and a leading OTT platform.

According to the annual report, Network18’s digital content properties across news and entertainment are now used by over 130 million people; and one in every four internet users in India is on Network18 websites or apps.

According to the EY-FICCI FRAMES 2019 report, the media and entertainment industry is slated to grow at 12 percent CAGR over CY 2018-21, reaching a size of Rs 2.35 trillion in CY 2021. This growth is likely to be driven by tailwinds of better connectivity, higher disposable incomes and availability of wider variety of content, especially in Indian languages, the report said.

(Disclosure - Reliance Industries Ltd. is the sole beneficiary of Independent Media Trust which controls Network18 Media & Investments Ltd)

Updated Date: Jul 30, 2019 14:23:24 IST