New Delhi Television (NDTV) Limited, which is facing three-fold challenges – revenue loss, fraud and credibility crisis – is considering potential sale of certain strategic assets by one or more its subsidiaries.
In a regulatory filing before the Bombay Stock Exchange, the private broadcaster stated, “…the trading window for dealing in the securities of the Company will remain closed from 17 April 2017 till the conclusion of 48 hours from the date of Board meeting of the Company that is being convened to consider, inter alia, potential sale of certain strategic assets by certain material subsidiary (ies) of the Company.”
During the quarter ending 31 December, NDTV had reported a consolidated revenue loss of Rs 18 crore following a dip in advertising revenue.
ND TV, primarily a left-leaning television news channel, often faces a lot of flak in social media for taking partisan stand against the Modi government and the BJP, using half truths and manipulation of facts. Incidentally, after the Congress lost power in 2014 general elections, the broadcaster is facing financial crisis.
At the same time the credibility of the channel is on a further downside with its anchors peddling fake news, channel being silent on crimes by relatives of NDTV journalists, and the channel giving platform to people who are abusive and violent.
NDTV also came under severe criticism for its coverage on the terror attack at Pathankot airbase. In November last year, the government had ordered a one day ban on NDTV India, after an inter-ministerial panel constituted by the Information & Broadcasting Ministry recommended this action. The ban was ultimately not executed, even as the channel refused to apologise for Pathankot coverage.
Amid all this, the Enforcement Directorate, in November last year, had slapped a show cause notice to NDTV for flouting foreign exchange regulations while bringing foreign investments to the tune of Rs 2,030 crore between 2007-10.
Accusing NDTV of money laundering, BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Dr Subramanian Swamy had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to direct the Central Board of Investigation (CBI) to file case against the private broadcaster under Prevention of Corruption Act.
Alleging that NDTV was a party to Aircel-Maxis scam, during the Congress rule, Swamy said it had received illegal money from Maxis subsidiary Astro. Swamy further said that the money, received by NDTV from Maxis, was “illegally approved” by then Finance Minister P Chidambaram to “benefit his son” Karthi Chidambaram.
Recently, a book named ‘NDTV Frauds’, written by Sree Iyer was launched in the national capital by Swamy and activist-writer Madhu Kishwar. The book talks in detail about alleged illegalities committed by the media group.
The latest decision to sale some of its ‘strategic assets’ while the media group is facing challenges on multiple fronts doesn’t augur well for NDTV’s future.