New Delhi: After four years of continuous losses, Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Ltd (Becil), the company which was started to provide project consultancy services in radio and television broadcast engineering, has posted a marginal profit of Rs2.1 crore.
For the year ended March, the company earned a revenue of Rs211 crore, up from Rs58.5 crore in 2015-16 and made a tiny profit. “We are crossing the Rs200 crore mark for the first time in the history of Becil. Next year, we will double it. That is the mandate and the plan,” said George Kuruvilla, chairman and managing director at Becil.
The plan, according to Kuruvilla, is to make Becil a full-fledged media back-end organization and move it out of the core business of broadcasting and consultancy services. For the past one year, the organization has been on an expansion spree— venturing into different sectors like IT, communication, social media management, programming, archiving and now, manufacturing (broadcast equipment) as well.
Becil recently altered its memorandum of association (MoA) to expand its range of activities and included all the new verticals. “Broadcasting has changed. It is no longer just television and radio. Audio and video used to be in broadcast domain. These have now moved into communication domain. That’s where we recognized the opportunity,” Kuruvilla said.
Becil is a facilitator and hires agencies for the projects commissioned to it by various government departments. Becil charges 9% of the total turnkey cost and works for various government departments, ministries, public broadcaster Prasar Bharati as well as private FM radio companies.
Currently, Becil has a Rs110 crore surveillance and access control project assigned by Airport Authority of India, a Rs25 crore surveillance project by the railway ministry and Rs160 crore access control project by the ministry of defence in its kitty. Besides, it also manages social media platforms for multiple ministries including information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry, ministry of labour and employment and ministry of transport. The company monitors the discussions which take place on various social media platforms and manages the posts and responses of ministries.
Becil is also working on the smart city project with the government where it is monitoring 20 cities, including Jaipur, Surat and Ahmedabad, to understand the system and help the government make these cities efficient.
“Becil is very uniquely placed. Secondly, the requirements of the broadcast sector have changed over time. An organization ought to respond to the requirements of the day. Becil just needs to ascertain that it acquires the proper expertise,” said Uday Kumar Varma, former secretary at I&B ministry.
For its programming vertical, Becil is looking to use the studio facilities of state broadcaster Doordarshan and create promotional videos, programmes and documentaries for various government departments and ministries. It already works as a consulting agency to Doordarshan.
“Over a period of time, Becil has really turned itself around. Though it started as an organization which was meant only for engineering, it has realized that there are a lot more sectors in broadcast which need back-end support. It is a huge opportunity because there are not many organizations which provide such services. That has been a game changer for Becil,” said Supriya Sahu, director general at Doordarshan and former board member of Becil.
Sahu added that Prasar Bharati board has recently approved a proposal to bring Becil on board for all broadcast-related activities of Doordarshan.
However, there are others who feel that Becil might be putting its core competencies on the back burner while focusing on several new areas. “Becil has been falling behind schedule for certain projects. The common transmission infrastructure that was to be created for the private FM radio firms is not yet complete. It was supposed to be ready by September 2016. It’s good that the company is expanding but I hope that it doesn’t lose focus,” said an executive at a private FM radio company who did not want to be named.
Going forward, Becil is looking to double its revenue to Rs400 crore in 2017-18. Interestingly, with a long list of projects lined up for the first quarter of 2017-18, Becil has already clocked Rs100 crore.