Five-year-old podcasting platform Kuku FM came out of pre-revenue stage in the fiscal year ending March 2022 as it posted over Rs 4 crore in operating revenue during the period. However, it has continued to bleed profusely and spent around Rs 13 to earn a rupee.
While we will come at its expense break up and losses in the later half of the story, for now, let’s focus on its revenue streams.
Kuku FM recorded 25.9X growth in its scale which stood at Rs 4.41 crore during FY22 as compared to Rs 17 lakh in FY21, as per its annual financial statements with the Registrar of Companies.
Mumbai-based Kuku FM is a podcast platform that provides content creation tools in five languages including Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, and Gujarati. The platform deals in genres including fiction and nonfiction audiobooks, self-help education titles, entertainment, news, mythology, and spirituality, among others.
Kuku FM collected Rs 4.4 crore of its operating collection from subscriptions and Rs 1 lakh from what it described as “service fees.” It’s a positive development that Kuku FM has paying subscribers, which is not necessarily the case in what is a highly competitive streaming space. Even though India’s large internet user base presents a huge opportunity, getting them to pay for services is a tough nut to crack. The likes of Netflix very well understand it. As of June 2022, Kuku FM had 1 million active paying subscribers.
During FY22, it also earned Rs 39 lakh from interest and gain on financial assets which took its overall revenue to Rs 4.8 crore.
Its total expenses jumped 3.3X to Rs 57.03 crore in FY22 from Rs 17.45 crore in FY21. Akin to the company’s expenditure, its losses also soared 3.4X to Rs 52.22 crore during FY22 in contrast to Rs 15.53 crore in the preceding fiscal year.
Coming to its expenses break-up, advertising & promotional costs accounted for 55.9% of the total expenses. This cost ballooned 9.6X to Rs 31.9 crore in FY22 from Rs 3.33 crore in FY21.
Employee benefits expenses also spiked around 88% to Rs 14.77 crore while technical expenses including software and payment gateway, inclined 2.7X to Rs 1.74 crore in FY22.
Kuku FM also incurred content creation and writing expenses of Rs 1.74 crore, taking its overall expenditure to Rs 57.03 crore. On a unit level, Kuku FM spent Rs 12.93 to earn a single rupee in FY22.
Kuku FM has secured around $47 million to date from Fundamentum, Paramark and Krafton et al. It was valued at around $120 million following its Series B round in August 2022.