After the strategic pause of last year your Company was back on the path of rapid growth! In FY19 revenues grew 15.5% to ' 620.5 crores EBITDA 19.9% to ' 139.8 crores and PAT 53.4% to ' 53.9 crores. We ran like the wind in FY19!
It's important to see the Company's performance in terms of what we set out to achieve strategically. One of the reasons we took the pause - to improve profitability of our solutions business - started yielding results. Gross Profit - without the impact of concerts featuring international artists - rose from 30.1% to 32.3%. We experimented with International concerts for the first time in FY19 and made losses. Experience shows us that new businesses often lose money in the initial years. But they later become profitable.
Another important reason for the strategic pause was to refocus our energies on several fast-growing market opportunities apart from radio where we are leaders anyway. Over the years we have launched several online radio stations developed a powerful presence in videos via YouTube taken the brand to TV via several impact properties and gone beyond India into countries like the UAE and Bahrain serving millions of Indians there.
In terms of revenues we have built a powerful suite of sales offerings focused on providing solutions to clients rather than selling plain vanilla radio inventory. We offer Activations Concerts TV impact properties online radios videos international markets and even third-party events. One of our most exciting sales offerings is multi-media solutions which combines radio with digital on-ground and other media. Over several years our business has grown much beyond radio - we now say Mirchi is not just radio. In fact in FY19 radio contributed just 67% of our overall revenues.
In FY19 we continued to push ahead along our chosen strategic direction. We launched Mirchi in the biggest radio market in the world the United States. More than 90% of Americans consume radio weekly this number being bigger than even TV viewership there. We launched first in the tri-state area of New York New Jersey and Connecticut and then expanded rapidly into Philadelphia (PA) Baltimore (MD) Raleigh-Durham (NC) Cleveland (OH) Columbus (OH) Atlanta (GA) and St Louis (MO). We plan to expand further in the US and Canada in the coming years. We have also firmed up plans to enter another country in the Gulf after having entered the UAE and Bahrain.
On the digital front we made big moves in FY19. We launched and successfully sold several video shows. We call these shows Original Content - web series created by our programming team. We grew our YouTube subscribed base to more than 6.2 million across all our channels put together a growth of almost 140% over last year. We even launched a new channel Chilli Flakes to cater to a younger audience. In all we got almost 725 million views on YouTube a jump of 64% over last year. On Social Media we grew further. Across all social media Mirchi and its RJs have a fanbase of over 18 million.
We launched our Podcasts business producing nearly 50 shows. These are hosted on all major platforms like iTunes Spotify etc. In FY20 and onwards we plan to significantly grow our Original Content Podcasts and YouTube video businesses. We have found a profitable way to grow these businesses tapping both advertisers and streaming platforms for revenues. Overall in FY19 our digital business grew by about 90% and nearly broke even reporting less than 4% negative margin.
One of the questions I am often asked by investors is about the impact that online streaming apps like Gaana are having on our core FM radio business. The latest IRS report should settle this. Overall monthly radio listenership is up to 21 6 million a growth of 6.6% since the last IRS report. Weekly radio listenership is similarly up by 8.3%. A look at devices used shows the reason for this rapid growth. Radio listenership on mobile phones is at 1 09 million up 1 0.2%. As is known mobile is the most preferred medium for access to the internet also. Flere is the most exciting bit though. Car stereo listenership is at 28 million up 27.9%! Car listenership is concentrated in the biggest cities and in terms of profile it represents the most premium audience that advertisers seek. It is no surprise then that private FM grew impressively in FY1 9 at 9.8% compared to just 5.2% in FY1 8.
The growth of digital is creating new opportunities for diversified players like Mirchi. Flere's how. As mentioned earlier in FY19 our videos were watched nearly 725 million times on YouTube. We estimate that this created a new audience base of 50-60 million mostly young consumers. This is higher than our monthly FM audience base of about 40-50 million. Because of the internet Mirchi's footprint has more than doubled. This is a loyal audience that comes back to us repeatedly. But is this reach monetizable? In the past it has not been so but increasingly advertisers are turning towards digital solutions to reach their audiences. Mirchi is benefitting from this turn. Mirchi is producing native videos for clients planning digital media for them integrating them inside original content providing them sponsorship opportunities on podcasts and creating multimedia solutions for them using J
digital ideas to reach media dark markets using the reach of mobile phones. This growth is so exciting that we are adding strongly to our team strength J in digital Original Content and Podcasts. We did a modest ? 10.3 crores in digital revenues last year but we see this growing to more than ? 75 crores in the next few years.
To end Mirchi is on an exciting transformational journey. It's pivoting from radio entertainment to multi-media entertainment. From FM to an omni-channel brand. And from plain vanilla airtime inventory selling to solutions selling. In this journey the management team is being guided by the wisdom of our Board the enthusiasm and passion of our teams the support of our advertisers and the sustained confidence you our investors have shown in our strategy. Flere's to a happy future!
|Managing Director & CEO '|