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Viacom18’s Indian revenue rises to $1.3 billion thanks to sports




Viacom18's Indian revenue rises to $1.3 billion thanks to sports

Revenues at Viacom18, the media arm of Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s conglomerate Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), witnessed an increase for the financial year 2023-2024.

Annual financial results released Monday showed the company’s gross revenues were $1.3 billion, up from $871.3 million the year before. Operating revenue grew 49.4% year over year to $1.1 billion. EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization) fell to $3.9 million from $28.3 million last year. Viacom18 attributes this to increased investments in digital sports, news and entertainment services that have driven growth for the JioCinema, Moneycontrol and News18 platforms.

“The group’s consolidated EBITDA was impacted by continued investments in Viacom18’s sports and digital verticals, the key drivers of revenue growth in the near future,” the company said.

Revenue from news activities increased by 19% year-on-year. Sports was the biggest driver of revenue growth for Viacom18, while news revenue growth was driven by both TV networks and digital platforms, the company said. Sports activities such as the Indian Premier League cricket tournament, cricket series with the Indian national team and the South African cricket league SA20 have helped Viacom18 “significantly increase its presence in the sports segment,” the company said.

The release of ‘Fighter’, India’s highest-grossing film of 2024 so far, fueled the growth in the film segment. The company also recorded strong advertising revenue growth within its TV network business, driven by robust viewership.

In February this year, Viacom18’s merger with Disney’s Star India, a deal estimated to be worth $8.5 billion, was confirmed. The joint venture will “seek to lead the digital transformation of India’s media and entertainment industry and provide consumers with high-quality and comprehensive content offerings anytime, anywhere. With the addition of Disney’s critically acclaimed films and shows to Viacom18’s renowned production and sports offerings, the JV will deliver an immersive, accessible and new digital-centric entertainment experience to people in India and the Indian diaspora globally,” Viacom18 said.

The joint venture will be controlled by RIL and will be 16.34% owned by RIL, 46.82% by Viacom18 and 36.84% by Disney.