Network18 Media & Investments reported a third-quarter loss on Tuesday, as the billionaire Mukesh Ambani-backed conglomerate splurged to push up its share of television viewership, while advertisers pulled back on spending.
Network18 posted a consolidated loss of Rs. 76.8 million ($938,875.31) in the quarter ended December 31, 2022, compared to a profit of Rs. 971 million a year earlier.
However, losses narrowed from the previous quarter’s Rs. 364.9 million, a Reuters report from Bengaluru stated.
Expenses climbed 45 percent to Rs. 19.39 billion as Viacom18, a joint venture in which Network18 is a 51 percent owner, ramped up its spending on new shows, movies and sports programming.
Viacom18, home to FIFA World Cup 2022 streaming in India, also launched sports channels ahead of the lucrative Indian Premier League cricket tournament, for which it owns digital streaming rights.
Network18 said the investments paid off, as its viewership share in the entertainment business rose 50 basis points sequentially to 10.5 percent. Its revenue from operations also increased 12 percent to Rs. 18.5 billion.
However, the growth did not drive up its advertising revenue. Businesses, including funding-strapped start-ups and online brands, kept a lid on their marketing budgets due to high fixed costs.
“The continued softness in the macro-economic environment dampened advertising demand and impacted revenue, in contrast to the strong festive demand witnessed last year,” the company said in a statement.
Television impressions – a key metric used to quantify the number of views an advertisement gets – also declined with a fall in the reach of the news genre, Network18 added.