Review panel suggests Zee Ent substantially cuts biz losses
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2 months ago 06:00:54am Television

Review panel suggests Zee Ent substantially cuts biz losses

New Delhi, 30-March-2024, By IBW Team

Zee prunes Bengaluru tech company staff by 50%

India’s Zee Entertainment (Zeel) should substantially reduce losses in its businesses, including its English TV channels, and cut costs in other areas to meet a key profit target, according to a company-formed review panel, the broadcaster said yesterday.

The move — coming on the heels of a failed $10 billion merger with Sony India and the collapse of a $1.4 billion cricket broadcasting deal over a missed payment — is aimed at helping the loss-making company hit key performance targets, Zee said, a Reuters report from Bengaluru stated.

That includes a 20 percent earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) margin target proposed by CEO Punit Goenka, Zee said.  Its margin was 10.2 percent in the December quarter.

Zee’s business has struggled over the years, with advertising revenue falling to $488 million in 2022-23 from around $600 million five years earlier. Cash reserves also dropped about 25 percent in that period.

The committee, comprising company chairman R. Gopalan and audit committee chairman Prakash Agarwal, has identified five businesses, including its English television channels, the Hindi channel ‘Zindagi’ and communication technology-maker Margo Networks, where losses need to be substantially reduced, Zee said.

Margo Networks lost Rs. 1.17 billion in the year ended March 31, 2023. Zee did not provide details on the performance of the other businesses or respond to requests for comment, the Reuters report added.

The committee has also advised halving the costs at Zee‘s technology and innovation centre in fiscal 2025, from the Rs. 6 billion ($72 million) a year back, Zee said.

Zee, besides being locked in legal battles over the failed Sony and cricket deals, has to also contend with new competition after Disney and Reliance merged their Indian media assets to create a $8.5 billion media behemoth.

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