How has the News industry shaped up during the last one year? FY16 was a year of lowgrowth for the news industry due to the base effect of election year. Nonetheless it wasan eventful year for the industry. The emergence of a new ratings system by BARC includingrural markets forced all industry players to rework their content to suit the diverseaudience. The importance given to rural markets under the new system propelled Free to Airchannels in the rankings and led to the re-emergence of DD Free Dish as an importantvehicle to increase penetration. Going forward the availability of viewership data willhelp the advertisers in planning and measuring the impact of their rural strategies.
The year also witnessed a significant increase in consumption of news on digitalplatforms. The introduction of 4G has enabled Generation Z to live stream and watch newsanytime anywhere. This led to development of several innovative news apps andprovided an opportunity to existing players to experiment with new revenue streams. Thephase III of digitization is underway. However the expected benefits of increase insubscription revenues and reduction in carriage fees are yet to materialize.
What is your view on News industry over the next few years? On the content frontDifferentiation will become the king. Audience profile of the industry which is currentlydominated by male over age of 35 will change to include the entire family and only thecontent that interests all will be effective. Due to the ongoing digital disruptionmobiles will become first screens of news consumption and digital media will be thefastest growing segment.
Digitization will reduce the carriage fees and will help the players evaluate thereturn on each rupee spent. The industry will realize the importance of technologicaladvancement and will increase investments in new efficient technologies which will bringdown newsgathering production and manpower costs.
Advertisements will become non-intrusive and the industry will come up with new ways toconnect advertisers with their target customers and to leave a lasting impact of theadvertisers proposition on the consumer.
How is ZMCL placed in the current business scenario and what are its key strengths?
ZMCL is the pioneer of television news in India and the largest television news networkin the country. Our strong brand and legacy can be extended to new platforms andbusinesses we enter in. Being a part of the Essel Group helps us tap into the Groupsextensive expertise and synergies. The Companys most important resource is itsstrong workforce with years of journalistic experience. Presence across national as wellas regional markets enables us to provide our viewers with news from multiple perspectivesand helps derive cost synergies. We provide local coverage to audiences across 14 Indianstates in 6 languages. Our entire video content repository of more than 60000 hours isbeing digitized and will be accessible across multiple platforms Television Printand Digital Media. We have also established a strong digital presence our websitesare performing well our channels are interacting continuously with viewers via socialmedia and we are in the process of developing an app-based news ecosystem. Our competitiveadvantages will ensure that we continue to innovate and to be an inspiration for theindustry. Has ZMCL reduced its advertisement inventory during the previous fiscal? Whatwas the impact?
During the year ZMCL experimented with different inventory levels to satisfy thedemands of viewers as well as advertisers. Through the reduction of inventory we haveimproved our channel positioning which in turn enabled us to increase our advertisementrates and provided better returns on money to the advertisers.
What are the major challenges and opportunities for the industry?
The news industry is plagued with me-too content with focus on breaking the newsinstead of verifying and analysing all the aspects. However with limited time availableto the consumers the players with differentiated content will rule the industry.
The introduction of ratings data on rural markets will help sectors having asignificant share of their demand from rural markets. News channels most of which areFree to Air and have deep penetration will enjoy larger share in the media plans.
With Free to Air channels gaining importance subscription revenues will go down. Theindustry should use this opportunity to come up with innovative revenue streams such asnative communication and branded content which will help it come out of ratings-basedpricing.
As consumption pattern of news is changing to social media and online sources what isthe Company doing sustain in the digital environment?
ZMCL is investing heavily in digital platforms to suit different audiences. The Companyhas already established a strong web presence through zeenews.com 24ghanta. com24taas.com and dnaindia.com and each one of them displayed tremendous growth in FY16.
During the year the Company launched several new initiatives which will help it forayinto new markets. The Company launched news apps for Zee News (in Hindi and in English)24 Ghanta (in Bengali) Zee 24 Taas (in Marathi) and DNA to target the viewers who follownews on the go. The soon to be launched online global news platform wionews.com willhelp the Company connect with international audience. The recent launch of Malayalam newswebsite zeenews.india.com/malayalam provides the Company with an opportunity to makeinroads in Southern India. Zeebiz.com the new online business news platform enables theCompany to service business community across multiple screens.
All our channels are present across various social media platforms (Facebook TwitterYouTube) and are continuously interacting with audience.
What is our strategy and target segment for the overall business?
We expect the audience profile for news ecosystem to gradually transform and includethe entire family. Our strategy is to provide differentiated content which cuts throughthe clutter by focusing on positive informative and interactive news. We intend to focuson news that a_ects people that they can use in their daily lives and thatupgrades and not just updates them. The Company seeks to expandits portfolio and will soon launch its online global news platform wionews.com. It willbe followed by an English language global news channel WION which will provide worldnews from South Asian perspective. Utilizing the synergies in the English news space theCompany will expand the footprint of our English daily DNA to multiple cities.
The Company is also diversifying its business by entering into television shoppingbusiness through the acquisition of Today Merchandise Private Limited (TMPL) and TodayRetail Network Private Limited (TRNL). Television Shopping with its promising potentialholds great investment value to the Company.
We look forward to an exciting year ahead which will de_nitely propel theCompanys growth into a higher orbit