HT Media posts 1Q income, profit surge

First-quarter financial year 2020 results for India’s HT Media group showed a surge in revenues and profits, offering respite after a few quarters of sluggish growth. Nonetheless, the decline on the digital front seemed to continue.

by Elizabeth Shilpa | August 7, 2019

The company’s total revenue rose by 3% from the year-ago quarter, while profits grew from Rs 5 Crore to Rs 28 Crore .

However, circulation revenue and ad revenue for its print segment declined by 9% and 7% respectively.

Owing to the lull in the market, sectors such as auto, e-commerce, retail and education have been going soft on advertising. This, along with the slowdown in government advertising due to the moral code of conduct in connection with the national elections, caused stress on the company’s ad revenues.

While the English titles saw a 14% drop in ad revenues, Hindi titles performed comparatively better with a 3% decline in ad revenues.

Circulation revenues fell by 8% and 7% for English and Hindi segments respectively.

The overall revenue for the segment ‘Printing and Publishing of Newspapers and Periodicals’ nevertheless grew from Rs 454 Crore in Q1 FY ‘19 to Rs 482 Cr in Q1 FY ’20, meaning 6% growth.

HT Media’s English daily Hindustan Times continues to hold the number 1 spot in the Delhi-NCR region, according to the latest Indian Readership Survey (IRS.)

Print ad revenue ‘under stress’

“Advertising revenue for the Print Business continues to be under stress with a higher impact on our English papers. However, the company saw a positive impact due to the softening of newsprint prices which led to growth in operating profit and improvement in profitability,” said Shobhana Bhartia, Chairperson and Editorial Director, HT Media Ltd and Hindustan Media Ventures Ltd.

The digital segment saw its revenues falling from Rs 21 Cr in the corresponding quarter in the previous year to Rs 17 Cr this quarter, a 19% decline.

HT Media has been witnessing a decline on its digital front over the past few quarters, rendering the segment a cause of concern.

The company recently transferred most of its digital properties to its sister concern Digicontent, which is run by a dedicated team.

On what lies ahead for the company, Bhartia said, “The outlook for advertising revenue for the next few quarters is dependent on a resurgence in the economy and growth in corporate earnings. With the likelihood of revenue pressure continuing in the short term, our focus remains on costs, operating efficiencies and new initiatives to manage the challenging environment.”

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