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LETTER TO THE SHAREHOLDERS:
It is no big challenge to produce astounding results in a good economy, but to deliver consistent double–digit growth and outperform the industry in an economy with 5% GDP growth, takes special effort. The World economy is at a cusp, with the US showing signs of a rebound and the EU economy likely to revive in the near future. Keeping this in light, our performance in FY 2013 assumes more significance when evaluated against the backdrop of a challenging global and domestic business environment. I believe the focus on reforms augur well for the Indian economy in the long term. I can say that the overall outlook is one of cautious optimism.
As per the latest FICCI – KPMG Report, Indian Media & Entertainment industry has emerged unscathed by the dismal economic scenario. Indian television sector grew by over 12% in 2012 and is now worth more than Rs. 370 billion. It is further projected to increase to Rs. 848 billion with a CAGR of 18% by 2017. C&S homes are projected to grow to 173 million covering 91% of the total TV households. This points to exciting times for the television industry.
Indian television industry has witnessed the introduction of the much awaited cable digitisation in 2012. Despite initial obstacles, Phase I of digitisation in the four metros has been rolled out smoothly resulting in the much needed transparency in the industry. Currently, the Phase II of digitisation is being implemented in 38 more cities across the country. These efforts have translated into enhanced subscription revenues for broadcasters and make them less dependent on advertising and drive higher value creation. Broadcasters will be relieved from paying huge sums as carriage fee, thereby increasing profitability and enabling them to focus on better content creation. At the same time, subscription revenues will increase for broadcasters and make them less dependent on advertising and drive higher value creation. Niche and specialist channels will now be able to launch and grow since the shortage of bandwidth created by analogue cable systems no longer hold true.
During FY 2013, ZEE's revenue stood at Rs. 36,996 million with EBDITA of Rs. 9,543 and Net Profit of Rs. 7,196 million. Having achieved the milestone of 20 years, your Company has decided to reward shareholders with an issuance of redeemable preference shares aggregating to Rs. 2,015 Crores by way of bonus. ZEE has been able to accomplish this growth, by being innovative on a continuous basis and constantly working on its business model to make it relevant to these times. Improved results year on year reflects the strength of our entire portfolio of brands. It is also the result of our long–term strategy to make significant investments in content, local production, digital foray and our zest to find new ways to entertain viewers globally.
Leveraging the opportunity due to the digitisation drive, we have further diversified our offering of niche channels and launched ZeeQ and Zee Bangla Cinema – a 24–hour Bengali Movie channel during the year. We will be launching various products in the near future to fully exploit the opportunities available in the marketplace.
In twenty years, brand ZEE has earned global recognition and has created a special place in the hearts and minds of its internal and external stakeholders. With its strong presence in the international markets, covering 169 countries and entertaining over 670 million viewers, ZEE aims at entertaining more than a billion viewers by the year 2020. In this journey of two decades, ZEE has not just bagged prestigious awards and accolades, but has also formed a beautiful family of viewers, shareholders, employees and business partners across the globe.
However, there was a definite need for a positioning statement for brand ZEE, which will differentiate ZEE from other global competitors and establish a strong emotional connect with its stakeholders. With this approach, "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – The world is my family" has been launched as our new positioning, which conveys the message of creating a world without borders, caste and strangers, hence uniting everyone as a part of one ZEE family. This positioning will not just be for the front–end, but going forward, would be deeply carved into the ethos of the Organisation, reflecting through our communication, content and conduct.
ZEE has ventured into the production of fiction and non–fiction programming through its in–house production facility Essel Vision. This is part of our backward integration strategy to be present at all the points of value creation. At the same time this will help in cost optimisation, better control on content and quick turnaround time. Further, this will enhance ZEE's capability to enter various other entertainment domains like film production in the near future.
We are building a sustainable digital business model with strong cross platform presence on all devices and screens. Expansion of ZEE's digital business comprising the OTT platform–Ditto TV and mobile applications will play a vital role in the future. In a major drive for new digital services, your Company has made strategic investments in an international digital brand integration specialist firm MirriAd, which has developed an end–to–end platform that can digitally integrate brands into professionally produced video content at scale.
International expansion will also play a significant role in our vision to become a leading global M&E Company by 2020. ZEE is making targeted content investments in local languages across the globe to expand footprint and capitalise on various distribution platforms. Further consolidating its position in international markets, ZEE launched a GEC – ZEE Alwan for audience in the Middle East, which will host programmes in local languages apart from dubbed content. ZEE launched Zee TV HD for audience in Canada and will shortly be launching international channels with content produced in India for global markets.
Our solid operational performance and prudent strategy provide us with the necessary fillip to build ZEE as a leading global M&E brand. The people behind this performance are our employees who create entertaining and inspiring content day after day and develop engagement for our viewers. I am also thankful to our Board of Directors for their continuous support and guidance.
My best wishes go to everyone who contributed to a successful FY 2013. I look forward to greater success for ZEE in the years to come.