Our Bureau

New Delhi, Oct. 17

THE Prannoy Roy-promoted NDTV Ltd has registered an 18 per cent growth in revenues during the second quarter ended September 30, 2005 at Rs 43 crore, even as it recorded a net loss of Rs 6.59 crore. During the same period last year, it had recorded a net profit of Rs 2.81 crore.

For the six-month period of the current fiscal, NDTV registered revenues of Rs 84.57 crore compared with Rs 76.95 crore recorded during the same period last year. The broadcaster registered a loss of Rs 6.50 crore during this period compared with a profit of Rs 10.44 crore in the corresponding period last year. The loss is being attributed to cost of granting employee stock options which stood at Rs 7.45 crore. This was done to retain talent.

According to a company statement, it has added 63 new clients and 159 new brands to its advertiser base in this quarter. However, during the first half of the year, the employee salary increments have been higher than normal as a one-time adjustment to changed market situation. "The first half of this financial year is part of our organisation-building process and involved some one-time cost adjustments. We believe the worst in expense increases is over. We foresee both salary cost increases and many other cost increases coming down substantially next year," it said.

Expenses have also seen a jump on account of launch of the business channel NDTV Profit. But the gestation period for the channel has been much shorter, and there are very positive signs of revenue pick up in the last few weeks, which is within six months of its launch. Going forward, the company expects revenue growth to accelerate and cost increases to slow down substantially.

On the revenue front too, the broadcaster expects second half to be far more buoyant. "Our estimates are that revenues in second half of the financial year will be atleast 30-35 per cent higher than those reported in the first half," it added.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 18, 2005)
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