BANGALORE, May 25 (Reuters) – India’s Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEE.NS) It posted its first quarterly loss in three years on Thursday as advertisers tightened marketing budgets and expenses soared.
Zee posted a consolidated net loss of 1.96 billion rupees ($23.7 million) for the fourth quarter ended March 31, compared with a profit of 1.82 billion rupees a year earlier, Regulatory filing show.
The company’s total revenue fell 9.9 percent to 21.26 billion rupees, while expenses jumped nearly 10 percent.
Earnings at Indian broadcasters have taken a hit in recent quarters, with analysts saying new-age loss-making companies and inflation-hit sellers of consumer goods are spending less on advertising.
Zee said in a statement that its domestic ad revenue fell by a tenth in the March quarter, blaming a “slowdown in ad spending.”
It also added that it was stopping funding to tech startup SugarBox due to inflation and the conditions of an impending merger with the Indian unit of Japan’s Sony Group Corp. (6758.T)but will pour money into digital and sports businesses.
Zee suffers setback with creditors over loan default dispute during merger, but settle down It’s in March.
However, recent reports said that the National Stock Exchange and the Bombay Stock Exchange may have to reconsider their approval for the merger after Indian regulators ruled against an entity of the Essel Group, which owns Zee.
Sony Chief Executive Kenichiro Yoshida said last week the company was working to complete the merger by the end of the first half of its fiscal year, which ends in March.
Zee’s results lag behind rival New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV.NS)TV Today Network Ltd. (TVTO.NS) and TV18 Broadcasting Limited (TVEB.NS)profit for the quarter fell 76% to 98%.
Shares of Zee closed down 1.08% ahead of the earnings report, after falling 11.6% in the third quarter.
($1 = 82.7326 Indian Rupees)
Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam in Chennai; Editing by Varun HK
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