Times Internet FY21 online ad revenue grows 26% to Rs 621.27 crore

Times Internet Limited (TIL), a subsidiary of Bennett Coleman & Company Limited (BCCL), reported an 18% decline in operating revenue to Rs 979.06 crore for the year ended March 31, from Rs 1,189 .43 crore in the previous fiscal year. Total revenue fell by 9.24% to Rs 1,237.70 crore from Rs 1,363.77 crore.

According to financial data viewed by business intelligence platform Tofler, the company’s expenses decreased by 23% to Rs 1,214.38 crore from Rs 1,572.16 crore a year ago. Total benefits expenditure fell by 6.3% to Rs 557.67 crore from Rs 595.25 crore. Advertising promotional spend fell by 46% to Rs 131.24 crore from Rs 244.25 crore.

TIL’s net loss decreased by 79% to Rs 40.53 crore from Rs 196.06 crore. The company said its post-Covid cost rationalization efforts on various cost elements such as technology, marketing and facilities would also lead to long-term profitability of the system.

Online ad revenue jumped 26% to Rs 621.27 crore from Rs 492.84 crore. Revenue from the print media business fell by 76% to Rs 71.7 crore from Rs 300.46 crore. Web portal and helpdesk revenue decreased by 30.47% to Rs 50.58 crore from Rs 72.75.

Subscription revenue increased by 33% to Rs 33.31 crore from Rs 25.12 crore. SMS services revenue fell by 32% to Rs 64.98 crore from Rs 94.87 crore. Times Card revenue fell 22% to Rs 51.67 crore from Rs 66.34 crore.

E-commerce and commission income fell by 53% to Rs 18.5 from Rs 39.29 crore. Events – Sponsorship and attendance fee revenue fell by 49% to Rs 26.68 crore from Rs 51.88 crore. The company earned Rs 16.07 crore from content sales against Rs 17.84 crore.

There has been no response from the company until the filing of this report.

Times Internet is India’s largest digital products company that runs various portals and niche websites. Major digital properties managed by the company include timeofindia.com (TOI.com), www.economictimes.com, navbharattimes.comTimes Card, Times City, Times Jobs (including TechGig.com digital functionality), Dineout, Smart App, MensXP, iDiva, Speaking Tree, Cricbuzz.com and Times Prime.

Even though its mature businesses have become profitable or are close to profitability, the company is investing in transactional and subscription businesses such as Dineout, Times Prime, ETMoney for ARPU increase and continued growth as well as investments in technology and R&D. Many of these new companies are on an exponential growth trajectory and would require investment for continued growth while competing with well-funded startups.

In its filing, the company said its board hopes for better performance with increased revenue in the coming fiscal year by moving more and more users to subscription and transaction products to better monetize the existing base. This, he added, will result in revenue growth and improved profitability in the years to come. “However, over the next two years, we expect to continue to invest in our transaction/subscription business, which will result in moderate profitability despite very strong revenue growth,” TIL said in its regulatory filing.

Some steps taken by the company for revenue growth and improved profitability include merging the profitable Cricbuzz business into the company, investing in subscription products such as TOI+, ETPrime, TimesPrime, Passport Dineout for continued subscriber growth. He also invested in high ARPU transactional businesses like Dineout, ET money & ILN commerce, Gradeup for revenue growth. The company also has investments in Qureka, MX, etc. for revenue growth.

During the financial year, the company subscribed to 0.0001% convertible notes of MX Media for a total consideration of $25 million (Rs 184 crore). The convertible note is convertible into securities on the terms and conditions set forth in the note purchase agreement dated December 10, 2020, entered into between the Company, MX Media, Blue Berry Tech Limited and Tencent Cloud Europe BV

In addition, the company received 5,944 shares of Schoolay Technologies (Schoolay) in consideration for the transfer of 58,138 shares held in Voonik Technologies pursuant to the share exchange. Position from which Voonik was bought out by Schoolay.

Pursuant to the share exchange transaction between Metarain Distributors (Myra), API Holdings (PharmEasy) and Medlife International, the company received 48,116 shares of PharmEasy in consideration for the transfer of Myra/Medlife shares.

Torqus Systems’ plan to merge with the company has been filed with the National Company Law Court in New Delhi with the aim of integrating all Dineout-related businesses into the company.

In accordance with the conversion notice received from BCCL, the 2,87,32,56,000 or 8% non-cumulative mandatory convertible preferred shares of Rs 10/- each issued and allocated to BCCL were converted into participating shares of the Company of Rs. 10/- each, in accordance with the conversion ratio of 1:1.

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