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