If the Indian media ecosystem were an ocean and media companies are its living organisms, then the 178-year-old Times Group – the largest one – would be an octopus. There’s no doubt about it.

For if there’s one creature that comes close to representing the Times Group’s relentless survival instinct, it’s the octopus.

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The Times Group recorded total sales of just under Rs 10,000 crore, as of March 2016.

With close to about 43 subsidiaries and 13 associate companies, the Times Group has interests in newspapers, magazines, books, radio, news television channels, general entertainment channels, box office channels, e-commerce, coupons, hair growth and beauty products, insurance, real estate, education, finance, outdoor advertising, venture capital, hospitality…

…and phew, that still doesn’t cover all of it.

Media plays an important role in the decision-making process of every country. A deep, sound understanding of its constituents is key. So, at The Ken, we did a deep dive into Bennett Coleman & Company Limited (BCCL), the holding company, which for the sake of ease, we will call the Times Group. For our research, we relied on BCCL and all of its 43 subsidiaries’ and 13 associates’ filings with the Registrar of Companies, Ministry of Corporate Affairs. The Ken also relied on the information of investments publicly declared by BCCL as part of its Brand Capital vertical. Brand Capital is the business where BCCL picks up equity in various companies, in exchange for advertisements. The Ken’s data partner for this exercise is Tofler.

With that out of the way, now let’s get to some numbers.

As of March 2016, BCCL, at a consolidated level recorded total revenue of Rs 9,976 crore. The company recorded a profit after tax of Rs 1,291 crore. It will be fair to say that BCCL has had a fairly good run, the last couple of years. Take a look at this chart below:

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Figures in Rs Cr

Year-on-year, at a consolidated level, BCCL’s profit has grown. By about 17%. Also, this should not take away from the fact that with a profit of Rs 1,291 crore, BCCL is the most profitable media company in India. Just to drive this point home, BCCL’s closest competitor, HT Media, which publishes the newspaper
Hindustan Times and has several business interests, recorded a revenue, at a consolidated level, of Rs 2,655 crore as of March 2016. The company reported a profit of Rs 214 crore. Take the case of Network18 Media & Investments. The company recorded a turnover of Rs 3,495 crore as of March 2016 and a profit of Rs 39 crore.

Simply put, BCCL is far ahead.