In what appears to be another indication of NDTV’s dwindling fortunes and deepening financial crisis, it has sold 7.38% of its stakes in its subsidiary, Red Pixels Ventures, to A R Chadha and Co. The purchaser in the transaction is the landlord of NDTV’s official premises in Delhi.
It has also come to light that NDTV which has been exposed time and again in the recent past for its misleading, manipulative and even downright fake news stories, is struggling to meet its expenses. The sale transaction was not a routine financial transaction but a compulsion to meet its working capital requirements and pay outstanding rent. This goes on to show that the media outlet is going through a deep financial crisis. In fact, the company has officially stated in a BSE filing that the sale proceeds will be utilized by the company for working capital, including in relation to payment of outstanding rent by the company.
This is not for the first time that NDTV’s desperate financial condition has led to crisis level situations much to the embarrassment of the media outlet which is facing a decline in viewership owing to its low credibility. In fact, last year the company had resorted to cost-cutting and a turnaround plan due to the persistent viewership crisis. NDTV had then announced a reduction in the workforce by 25 per cent as part of a restructuring strategy for increased focus on the core area. These were the first indications of its dwindling fortunes. NDTV has also been exiting from non-core business verticals. This is suggestive of how the NDTV is struggling to survive in an adverse atmosphere, its political patronage not being in power. In some major jolts and shake ups for the company, its shareholder approved the sale of its automobile e-commerce firm Fifth Gear Ventures to Autobyte Pvt Ltd. Last year, the company’s shareholders also disposed of NDTV Ethnic Retail Ltd to Nameh Hotels & Resorts Pvt Ltd.
NDTV has itself to blame for the series of crisis faced by the unethical media outlet. The way NDTV has tried to stick to a particular political patron, no matter what, this was bound to happen. The viewers have understood their biases and are fed up of their agenda-driven journalism. Their core teams consisting of journalists like Ravish Kumar and Barkha Dutt have faced severe criticism for pursuing agenda-driven journalism and have never been able to hide their inherent biases and prejudices. NDTV has not been able to prioritize between journalism and ideological considerations. At the same time, it has been claiming baseless moral superiority over other media outlets which have not gone down well with the viewers. NDTV always had obvious political considerations. However, it kept blaming others for following an unfounded pro-BJP agenda. The alienation of viewers from NDTV has been visible in statistics too. NDTV 24×7 slipped to the fifth spot as far English news channels are concerned last year itself. This became visible in terms if financial losses also. For the quarter ending September 2017, its losses widened to Rs. 23 crores showing how badly things are going with the NDTV.
While the last year had witnessed the company selling of its non-core business vertical assets, this time around the company seems to be selling of its major assets in order to meet its expenditure. We were aware of its dire condition but no one could have imagined that its end would come so close so early. This will serve as a nice example against mischievous and misleading news reporting. While there are several funding options that are open especially when a media outlet intentionally goes soft on certain political factions, this development shows that respite may not be coming even from the desired sources for the NDTV.