TV Today Network, also known as the India Today group, said it decided to shut down Dilli AajTak, its Delhi-specific news channel, and move some of the staff to the main channel.
The decision comes in the wake of a sharp decline in advertising revenues across channels due to the Coronavirus lock-down.
The group said Dilli Aajtak does not contribute much to the overall revenue, and is not growing as fast as needed.
“The Channel “Dilli Aajtak” contributes less than 1% to the total revenues of the company. The total income from DAT for the financial year ended March 31, 2020 was Rs 3.71 cr out of the total income Rs 899.57 cr of the company. The net worth contribution by DAT was also negligible,” the company said.
“Further, the business of DAT has not grown over the years, hence it is not viable to continue with the transmission and operations of DAT,” it added.
“The services of some of the people working in channel ‘Dilli Aajtak’ can be utilised more effectively in supporting the operations of the flagship channel of the Company viz. AajTak,” it added.
“It is pertinent to mention that since the channel ‘Dilli Aajtak’ comprises of insignificant portion of business of the company, therefore the said discontinuation shall not have any material impact on overall business of the company,” it TV Today said.
Advertising revenue fell as much as 90% for some channels during the Coronavirus lock-down, but has since recovered slightly as the government has announced a roadmap to relax the restrictions imposed on March 24.
Separately, Sony Pictures Networks too has announced a decision to shut down its AXN channel at the end of the current month, without giving any reason.
The channel is one of the oldest in India, and has been available since the 1990s.
Most channels in India are making huge and unsustainable losses in their day-to-day operations due to the drying up of advertising revenues.
Companies that sell consumer goods, such as biscuits, beverages, garments and electronics, slashed or suspended ad spends after the government shut down nearly all shops and outlets from March 25 through early May.
Coupled with a secular decline in the fortunes of one-way (broadcast) media companies due to the rise of the Internet, the lock-down has forced many media firms to shut down unprofitable operations and lay off employees.
Several print publications, including the top newspapers in India, have also shut down unprofitable editions and fired dozens — even hundreds — of employees during the last one month.