Chennai: Sun TV Network Ltd, India’s largest regional language broadcaster, reported a two-third increase in net profit at Rs80 crore on net sales of Rs195 crore in the second quarter ended 30 September, even as its profit margins slipped.

The numbers are not comparable as the current year figures include that of Udaya TV Pvt. Ltd and Gemini TV Pvt. Ltd, which merged with Sun TV. The Chennai-based firm, which operates 19 channels in South Indian languages, had a net profit of Rs48 crore on net sales of Rs95 crore in the year-ago quarter.

Mixed show: Sun TV Network chairman and managing director Kalanidhi Maran.

Earnings before interest, depreciation, tax and amortization(Ebidta) margins dropped to 73.84% in the current quarter, as against 78.32% in the year-ago quarter.

The last quarter saw the launch of Tamil satellite channel, Kalaingar TV, which has gained viewership at the cost of Sun Network’s flagship channel, Sun TV, according to a report prepared by Citi Investment Research. “We think Sun’s market share decline is too soon and too sharp, and chances are that it could accentuate further. Kalaignar seems a serious contender, and we believe it is here for the long haul", said Citi’s analysts Princy Singh, Pragati Khadse and Aditya Mathur in the research report.

Sun TV’s market share has declined from more than 40%, to near 30% since the launch of Kalaingar TV about a month back, said the 22 October report. The report compared the current situation of Sun TV Network to that what happened in 2000 in the Hindi satellite channel market, where Star Group Ltd overtook the then market leader Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. In a press release, Sun TV Network claimed its market share of Sun Group in Tamil Nadu has not declined. The release said market share remained at 60% for the week of 23-29 September but did not provide break-ups.