Following a marginal increase in revenues during the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017, the management at HT Media has decided against providing employees with a salary increase during the ongoing fiscal. Besides HT Media, the workforce at Hindustan Media Ventures Limited (HMVL) and HT Digital Streams Limited (HTDSL) will also take a financial hit owing to the move. The employees were informed of the decision in June by Sharad Saxena, Executive Director – Operations & HR.
“The revenues we delivered were way below our plans for the year and while we worked hard on our cost structure, it simply could not compensate for the revenue shortfall. With the first quarter of current financial year almost behind us, it is clear that the challenge on revenues will continue for more time,” Saxena informed employees, adding that the operating plan for FY18 does not account for any increase in salaries.
It is noteworthy to mention that HT Media managed a minuscule improvement in its top line in FY17 as total income only went up from Rs. 2,657.7 crore to Rs. 2681.55 crore. Simultaneously, annual advertising revenues dipped from Rs. 1,982.5 crore to Rs. 1,913.1 crore. The company, however, has taken steps to safeguard the financial interests of employees who earn relatively less. “It has now also been decided that while no salary change shall be made this year, a special fixed monthly payment shall be made (for the period Apr’17–Mar’18) to those people whose relative salary is low. This will be done across HTDS, HTML and HMVL for the least salaried covering 2/3rd of the people in each of these organisations,” Saxena mentioned.
All such payments will be made to those who have been associated with HT Media group for more than six months in FY17. “For such people who have joined post 1st April 2016, the payout will be prorated for the duration of the year that they have worked. The first payment will happen in the June salary with arrears for April and May,” Saxena’s memo concluded.
While the business at HT Media was seriously affected due to the “sluggishness in economy” after the demonetisation of high currency denomination notes in November 2016, HT Media could not benefit much from their cost rationalisation exercise which preceded demonetisation. As part of the same, HT Media closed down several editions including the ones in Bhopal, Indore and Ranchi. An undisclosed number of employees also faced the axe. Nevertheless, the company recently launched a new edition of their flagship English newspaper, Hindustan Times, in Pune.
exchange4media tried to reach HT Media for their comments but did not receive a response at the time of writing this article.