Zee flags continued growth


Zee Entertainment Enterprises, one of India’s major media concerns, has promised continued growth despite the economic conditions, after reporting revenues up just 5% for its third quarter compared with the same quarter 2007.

Advertising revenues for the current quarter would show growth of 15% and subscription revenues would grow by 23%, the company forecast. Operating profit would rise 5%.

Zee operates a number of television channels as well as a film production and distribution business, Zee Entertainment Studio.

Revenues were Rs5,456 million for the three months to end-December. The company was bouyed by growth in subscription revenues from its pay-TV channels. While ad revenues were up just 2% to Rs2,684 million, subscription revenues grew 17% to Rs2,274 million. Over half of the subscriptions revenues – Rs1,147 million – came from Zee’s international channels. Revenues from domestic DTH operations – Dish TV – included in subscription revenues, were Rs283 million.

Subhash Chandra, Zee’s chairman, said: “The Entertainment & Media industry is also seeing the impact of the overall downturn in the global economy. We are in the midst of a downward trend in advertisement revenues. However, this is being offset through a growth in subscription revenues, reemphasizing that the company is broad-based and less vulnerable to changes in advertising revenues. Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited is built on sound fundamentals and I can say with confidence that we have the resilience to show a growth momentum in the months ahead.”

CEO Punit Goenka added: “Our channel shares remained steady across genres. We widened our footprint across the globe and across customer segments, thus retaining our position of preeminence in the [general entertainment channel] business. The emphasis of the company remains revenue leadership and we initiated several exercises to trim costs that will help us remain productive and competitive during the coming quarters.”

Zee operates channels including Zee Cinema, Zee Sports, Ten Sports and Zee Café as well as flagship Zee TV. However a second Hindi general entertainment channel, Zee Next, incurre losses of Rs81 million in the quarter and “continues to be on maintenance mode”.

The company’s total expenses were Rs4,339 million for the quarter, up 19% on the corresponding quarter’s Rs3,660. However, programming and operating costs grew just 5% to Rs2,684 million, with sales and other expenses up 58%.

Zee’s operating profit was Rs1,116 million, down 27%, impacted by the increase in selling expenses. Profits before tax were Rs1,157 million, down 29% and after tax were Rs840 million, down 26%.