Prannoy Roy-owned NDTV Ltd is taking off air its English business news channel NDTV Profit, beginning June 5.

The move comes in the wake of reports of NDTV facing tax litigation and mounting revenue losses and also potential threat from the digital medium.

Beginning June 5, it will become a full-time infotainment and entertainment channel and will be rebranded as NDTV Prime.

“NDTV has decided to transfer its business programming from Profit to regular business and finance segments on NDTV 24x7. This will mean suspending the current trading hours programming on Profit while Prime will continue as a channel,” Roy, Executive Co-Chairperson, NDTV Ltd, said in statement to the BSE.

Roy further said the company may look at reviving the business channel when the circumstances are appropriate.

NDTV’s website and Hindi news channel NDTV India will continue to operate.

Digital competition

Various industry sources BusinessLine spoke to indicated that television channels have been witnessing a slowdown in viewership.

Additionally, competition from players like CNBC-TV18 and ET Now, as well as the digital medium, may have made the channel less profitable to operate.

Speaking on the trend in the television news broadcasting business, Priyanka Chaudhary, Director, Grant Thornton India LLP, said: “Growth in news viewership has been high but this has not necessarily translated into profitable bottomlines. Tepid growth in discretionary advertising revenues have made things tougher. To top it all is medium-, time- and place-agnostic digital news and a promiscuous viewer base.”

The NDTV Group had posted a net loss of ₹68.7 crore in FY17, marginally higher than FY16’s net loss of ₹64.8 crore. In the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017, NDTV’s top line fell by 7.2 per cent from ₹577.12 crore to ₹535.21 crore.

Industry watchers also note that there may be some “thinning” in the studios leading to job losses. In April this year, NDTV had said it is considering a strategic sale of one of its subsidiaries. It had, however, not specified which subsidiaries it intended to sell.

Leadership change

Last year, NDTV had also made a leadership change with KVL Narayan Rao replacing Vikram Chandra as Group CEO. The company had revamped the channel in 2013. NDTV Profit shared its slot with NDTV Prime by broadcasting shows on technology, information and entertainment among others.

Last year, the government had asked NDTV India to shut down for a day. The order was served by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) for the Hindi channel’s coverage on the Pathankot terror attack, during which it allegedly reveal ‘strategic information’.

NDTV, which operates channels including NDTV24X7, NDTV Profit, NDTV Prime and NDTV India, has also been battling a series of litigations with the Income Tax Department over transactions that took place in 2004.