ZEE in its illustrious history of 27 years has not only created a multi-facetedentertainment content company but has also played a pivotal role in shaping India's mediaand entertainment industry. Today ZEE stands on the threshold of a new beginning tocreate a stronger version of itself and define the future of the media &entertainmentlandscape in the country. The last financial year has been a year of transformation. Ayear of leaving behind our old selves creating a newer version and taking a leap tocreate a legacy that will elevate the Company to greater heights. The new beginning whichI term as ZEE 4.0 will be the harbinger of enhanced consumer focus further innovation incontent creation and leveraging technology to deliver a heightened entertainmentexperience to all our consumers across multiple consumption platforms.
The mantra at ZEE has always been to lead by example and we have demonstrated thateffectively through our success across markets and businesses. Every challenge we faced onthis path was met with an equal determination to overcome and forge ahead. Though wecannot go back and alter our decisions no one can stop us from creating a brand newfuture.
I have shared my vision for ZEE 4.0 in my Open Letter' harboring a sharperleaner and greener version of the Company. The five pillars of the new ZEE 4.0 or the 5Gapproach as I have termed it will encompass a robust focus on Governance GranularityGrowth Goodwill and Gusto. As a first step in this direction the Board of the Companyhas been reconstituted with new members who bring in the required blend of experience andexpertise. I am confident that a Board with majority independent directors will beinstrumental in setting the standards for corporate governance going forward. We have alsoadopted a more granular and transparent approach for business reporting which will helpall stakeholders make well-informed decisions. We will be rolling out detailed disclosuresof business KPIs segmental reporting a refreshed Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)policy and measurable ESG goals to achieve the same.
Over the years we have grown vertically and horizontally becoming one of the mostloved content brands in India and around the world.
Going forward we will continue to maintain a sharp focus on growth as we invest ourtime and energy in maximizing our core expanding into adjacent spaces and exploring newareas of business. We have initiated a strategy exercise within the Company to carve a5-year roadmap to transform the organization and its strategic approach with consumercentricity and profitable growth as the two cornerstones.
All our plans and strategies would not fructify unless we nurture our most importantasset our people. I truly believe that one does not build a business; but buildspeople who then build the business. ZEE is extremely fortunate to have a strongprofessional leadership team at the helm to drive this new strategy forward with renewedenergy and gusto.
The unprecedented times brought upon by the COVID-19 pandemic are leaving us with a lotof food for thought. Businesses across the globe have suffered unprecedented losses andsome are going through extremely difficult situations. We have been more fortunate and Ibelieve the primary reason for that has been our unrelenting focus on customer centricity.The speed and agility with which our teams adapted to the situation have been instrumentalin maintaining business continuity and ensuring undisrupted entertainment to our viewers.We believe that in this rapidly evolving media & entertainment landscape only theones who adapt to change will survive in the future. These will be the companies whichsucceed in adapting themselves best to the environment while ensuring a strong hold on thepulse of their consumers and a keen eye on growth and profitability.
The year gone by
FY20 was a year of highs and lows for our business. While we reported a decline in ouradvertising revenue for only the second time in more than a decade on the operating frontwe achieved new feats. Our broadcast business now has the widest language footprint in thecountry making it a truly pan-India network for consumers. New Tariff Order upset theequilibrium in the distribution space with the slew of changes it introduced. However thenetwork not only withstood the challenges of the transition it emerged much stronger postimplementation expanding its reach and revenue in most markets. ZEE5 took giant leapstowards becoming India's leading digital entertainment platform. Over a short period ZEE5has become the biggest producer of digital exclusive content in the country. It is alsogradually strengthening its presence outside India which will help us remain relevant inmarkets which are transitioning to digital. Zee Music Company continues to grow and I amhappy to report that it turned profitable last year validating our decision to ventureinto music publishing business 5 years ago. Zee Studios fell short of our expectations forthe in-house production business but the distribution segment delivered a string ofsuccessful films.
Despite a decline in advertisement revenues the topline of the Company grew by 2.5%.This domestic subscription led growth is a reflection of the increasing balance of ourrevenue portfolio.
The macro-economic slowdown experienced last year coupled with the fall in consumerdemand led to a decline in advertising. In India brands still look at advertising as acost to be incurred in good times and not as a lever for building resilient consumerconnect. As we move into an extremely cluttered world we will see a gradual changetowards a more holistic approach which has advertising as an integral part of the brand.
Meanwhile our aim is to insulate the growth of the Company from the macro-economiccycles as far as possible by offering holistic solutions to our partners. Despite theslowdown we continued to invest in growth opportunities which will enable us to growahead of the industry once the economy recovers. Continued investments coupled with thefall in advertisement revenue led to a decline in EBITDA margin to 27.5%. Next fiscal isalso going to be challenging as advertising revenue will decline further in the firsthalf due to the impact of COVID-19. However I believe that this phase is just a blip inIndia's long-term growth story and the economy will bounce back with vigor once theimpact of the pandemic subsides.
Our fight against COVID-19
The pandemic left many vulnerable to its harsh impact and in such times we focused onthe need to come together and support each other.
Acknowledging the work done by frontline workers we stepped up our efforts in alldirections to support the nation in strengthening its medical infrastructure providingessential equipment like ambulances personal protective equipment kits oxygenhumidifiers and daily meals to families affected by the pandemic. As a responsible playerin the media & entertainment sector we also ensured that the lives and livelihoods ofthe daily wage earners in our content production ecosystem were least impacted bysupporting them financially during the lockdown. The Company also used the massive reachof its network to increase awareness about the pandemic.
Vote of thanks
I would like to thank all the shareholders for their continuous trust in the Company.It is your undying faith that enables us to strive towards achieving greater heightsgrowing at a faster clip than the industry and generate higher value year on year. Iwould also like to thank all our partners who help us in creating content ensuring itsdelivery to the consumers and most importantly monetizing it. And lastly I would like toconvey my gratitude to all our people who relentlessly work towards turning our visioninto reality. It is the confidence in their collective ability that enables me to say withconviction that we are on our way to successfully build a new version of ZEE.
Until then celebrate endings for they precede new beginnings. For us at ZEE a newand exciting journey has just begun.