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Sun, Zee remain top on profitability charts

April 24, 2009 03:02 IST

Kalanithi Maran's Sun Network and Subhash Chandra's Zee Entertainment, the two homegrown media companies, have maintained their number one and two positions, respectively, in the Asia-Pacific pay broadcaster ranks for the second year in a row.

This is from a report prepared by Media Partners Asia (MPA), an independent international research agency. The MPA rankings are based on EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) numbers of media companies in the Asia-Pacific region.

The STAR Group has slipped to number six, two places down from last year, the report says.

Sun TV [Get Quote] Network's projected EBITDA for fiscal year 2009 is around $133 million (Rs 638 crore), while Zee Entertainment's projected EBITDA for the same period is around $121 million (Rs 580 crore), states the report.

"The STAR Group is at the sixth place with EBITDA numbers of about $70 mn (Rs 336 crore) if you include the unconsolidated numbers, that is, the earnings of its equity-accounted associates such as ESPN STAR Sports, Phoenix Satellite TV, MCCS, ANTV, Hathway and Tata Sky," said Vivek Couto, executive director, MPA.

The STAR Group's margins have been under pressure for some time due to erosion of its earnings in India, its largest market in Asia. This is due to higher content costs and competition from rivals such as Zee TV, the report adds. STAR has also been suffering losses in the China market and this has contributed to a slowdown in its growth, it says.

The MPA has projected a tough 2009-10 fiscal for television advertisers, broadcasters and direct-to-home (DTH) operators in India due to slowing advertising growth and lower revenue realisation. The latest MPA analysis on India says TV advertising will grow by only 6.5 per cent in 2009, compared with 15.6 per cent in 2008.

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