India’s Viacom18 Revenues Soar to $1.3 Billion Led by Sports and Digital Businesses

Revenues at Viacom18, the media arm of Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s conglomerate Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), witnessed an uptick for the 2023-24 financial year.

Annual financial results posted on Monday revealed that the company’s gross revenue was $1.3 billion, up from $871 million the previous year. Operational revenue grew 49% year-on-year to reach $1.1 billion. EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization) was down to $3.9 million from $28.3 million the previous year. Viacom18 attributes this to its increased investments in sports, news and entertainment digital services that drove growth for the JioCinema, Moneycontrol and News18 platforms.

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“Consolidated EBITDA of the group was impacted by continued investments in sports and digital verticals of Viacom18, the leading drivers of revenue growth for the foreseeable future,” the company said.

News business revenue was up 19% year-on-year. Sports was the biggest driver of revenue growth for Viacom18, while news revenue growth was driven by both TV network and digital platforms, the company said. Sports properties like the Indian Premier League cricket tournament, cricket series featuring the Indian national team and South Africa’s SA20 cricket league, helped Viacom18 “significantly ramp up its presence” in the sports segment, the company said.

The release of “Fighter,” India’s highest grossing film of 2024 so far, drove the growth in the movies segment. The company also noted a strong advertising revenue growth across its TV network businesses on the back of robust viewership share.

In February this year, plans for Viacom18’s merger with Disney’s Star India in a deal estimated to be worth $8.5 billion, were confirmed. The joint venture, which still needs regulatory approval, will “seek to lead the digital transformation of the media and entertainment industry in India and offer consumers high-quality and comprehensive content offerings anytime and anywhere. With the addition of Disney’s acclaimed films and shows to Viacom18’s renowned productions and sports offerings, the JV will offer a compelling, accessible, and novel digital-focused entertainment experience to people in India and the Indian diaspora globally,” Viacom18 said.

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

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