Posts Tagged ‘Debashis Basu’

Will Indian readers pay to keep their money safe?

19 April 2013

For all the talk about the future being digital, the truth is no Indian newspaper or magazine (or website) is making money at the speed and in the quantum that publishers and promoters feel they are entitled to.

Worse, no Indian newspaper or magazine (or website) has been able to generate the kind of content that readers won’t find elsewhere and will therefore pay to read.

Publishers are still groping around for a revenue model for charging online content. The Times of India is apparently inclined to but will only do so with Hindustan Times also on board.

Notwithstanding all this, Money Life, the personal finance magazine launched by the journalists Sucheta Dalal and Debashis Basu has gone full steam ahead.

A Rs 780 annual subscription gives copies of the print magazine, access to the website and web content, including the archives from 2006,  daily and weekly newsletters of news and views, and membership of the magazines initiatives. There is also a monthly pass for Rs 99.

External reading: Why Money Life went behind a paywall

How serious is the trouble at CNBC & CNN-IBN?

12 July 2010

Raghav Bahl‘s Network 18 group has restructured its business plan. Again.

All the loss-making broadcast businesses—CNBC TV18, CNN-IBN, IBN7, etc—are under one roof, and the digital and publishing initiatives—moneycontrol.com, Infomedia, etc—under another.

Debashis Basu writes in the personal finance magazine Moneylife that this is an old trick aimed at buying time and raising money by spinning a new story:

“The problem starts with the fact that 40% of TV18’s business is broadcasting that helps pull in revenues for other businesses. And there, revenues show not traction.

“Revenues were actually down in the March quarter even over the terrible quarter that was March 2009, despite the fact that this year’s March quarter revenues should have been buoyed by the big event of the Union Budget.

“The silver lining is that one part of IBN18’s business-entertainment channel Colors, is making money. But other broadcasting businesses of IBN18 (CNN-IBN, IBN Lokmat and IBN7) are in deep losses again and have no real growth traction.

“Competition is intense because others can also play the same game as Network18 can.

“Their operational costs are high too, mainly because salaries are exorbitant, relative to quality and quantity of output. Most importantly, these news operations have no real edge; they are indistinguishable from the others. The 50% profit from Colors will be eaten up by losses from the news channels.”

MoneyLife‘s continuing series of stories on the state of the TV players is indicative of the code of omerta that seems to be in play in the Indian media on matters affecting the Indian media. Although TV18 is a listed entity, which means ordinary citizens have their money invested in it, other media houses do not devote the same space on the financials.

Read the full article: Restructuring won’t mend cracks

Also read: The endgame is near for TV18 and NDTV

The barbs that resulted in a Rs 500 crore lawsuit

Is this man the new media mogul of India?

‘The endgame is near for both TV 18 and NDTV’

31 July 2009

SHARANYA KANVILKAR writes from Bombay: Indian media houses, generally speaking, have been cagey in reporting the economic downturn and what it is doing to the man (and woman) on the street. They haven’t ignored it, of course, but they have been, let’s say, less boisterous than they were when reporting the boom.

At one level, this is because of the widely held belief that gloom doesn’t sell. “Let us report what is happening, but let us not amplify it too much,” one top Hindi publisher wrote in an email to several co-publishers a few months ago. At another level, this is because of the belief that the blip was temporary and the good times would soon be back.

The good times may soon be here, so help me god, but will they be for India’s most glamourous television houses?

Moneylife, the personal financial magazine run by India’s pioneering business investigative journalist Sucheta Dalal and her husband Debashis Basu, has a special report on the state of of TV18, the BSE-listed company of Raghav Bahl (in picture), which runs CNBC-TV18 and the Hindi business channel CNBC Awaaz, among other businesses.

It is nothing short of eye-popping.

“Bleeding to Death?” reads the headline.

The story, authored by Debashis Basu, talks of the “horrifying story of cyclical revenues and non-cyclical costs,” and it warns that “things may only get worse”.

It compares TV 18’s current plight with NDTV’s.

“Both are losing profusely. Losses were a little lower when the [Indian] economy grew by 9% and the market euphoria fetched the two groups newer dumb investors and more money to keep going. But now, both are nearing this endgame.”

In broadcasting (CNBC TV18 and CNBC Awaaz), Basu writes that revenues are down and profits have collapsed due to higher costs. In web (moneycontrol.com, in.com, etc) revnues of Rs 65 crore have been overtaken by losses of Rs 66 crore. The newswire and printing businesses are not doing too well either.

Basu writes that TV18’s financial situation today is the result of accumulated sins of the past couple of years: the expansion of web-based businesses with no profitability in sight, huge expenses on staff and stock options, to finance which the company stares at a mountain of debt close to Rs 850 crore.

Even with the stock markets clawing back, Basu concludes that “the problems of TV18 have just started” because the economics of the business has changed with the entry of new players like ET Now, and with rumours of heightened competition in the form of Bloomberg.

“The big issue for TV18 is exactly what hit NDTV a few quarters earlier: how to keep funding the losses? One way out is taking on more debt hoping that the businesses would reviee…. Or get foreign media companies to buy your story….

“Even if there is value in some parts of the group, Raghav Bahl has locked up that value in a complicated group structure that got created when he funded these businesses as a network of entities, not independent businesses. So squeezed between competition on one side and cash crunch on the other, the endgame for TV18 begins.”

IBN18, which runs CNN-IBN, IBN Lokmat, IBN7, have always been losing money.

Read the full TV18 article: Bleeding to death?

Read the full NDTV article: Reality show

Also read: How the Indian media dream went sour

Is this man the new media mogul of India?

26% of India’s most powerful are media barons

The 11 habits of India’s most powerful media pros

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