Rediff’s Annual Report – in Red. Time to change Gears?

Rediff has published it’s Q4 results for the year ending Mar 31st, 2009 and here are some highlights:

  • Quarterly Revenues dropped by 50% (as compared to Mar 31st, 2008) : $4.49mn vs. $9,06mn last year
  • Annual Revenue stands at $25.43mn (as compared to $32.25 last year)
  • Net Loss of $11.26 million for the year ended March 31, 2009, as compared to a net profit of $4.92 million in the previous fiscal year.
  • Number of advertisers drops to 229 from 237 (as compared to Oct-Dec 07 qtr)
  • Quarterly India Online revenues dropped 33% and stands at $4.099mn.

The revenue numbers for the quarter were also adversely impacted by 25% y-o-y average depreciation of the Indian Rupee vis-à-vis the US dollar.

The quarter and fiscal year end results also include a non-cash goodwill and intangible asset impairment charge of $6.9 million – impairment of goodwill arising from Rediff’s acquisition of the print newspaper “India Abroad” in the United States in 2001.

The Traffic

Rediff traffic
Rediff traffic

Over a period of 1 year, an increase of 10% (worldwide traffic) leaves nothing much to speak on Rediff’s ability to engage users.

What about Rediff’s open initiative?

Rediff announced it’s open API in July 0f 2008 and literally hasn’t yet got any love from the developer audience (pretty much expected).

Most of Rediff’s investments have been in small features (which they call products) like webinmail which aren’t path breaking or anything of that sort.

What about investment in startups?

Is it time to change the gears? Or Maybe, the Vehicle itself?

Should Rediff take a non-editorial route and engage users? [Read: Have Indian Content Sites Hit the Ceiling?]

Most of their products are as disconnected as they shouldn’t be  – it’s time for Rediff to figure out the most important product line and close the not-so-profitable ones.

Investment in technology – Rediff is mostly an editorial site with not so strong focus on technology. Maybe it’s time to change that equation. Or if it’s a content portal, partnering with other media is the key (otherwise they will lose out ot in.com)

I believe it’s time to shake up things at Rediff, and even though one would say that all advertising based portals are in red (recession effect), Rediff’s challenges are much deeper than that.

What’s your take?

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