Last year, print players were hoping for a good quarter given the festive season in October and December.
Some of the listed companies such as Jagran Prakashan Limited, Dainik Bhaskar Corp Ltd (DBCL) and Hindustan Media Ventures Ltd released their quarterly results.
Jagran Prakashan Limited (JPL) that publishes newspapers such as Dainik Jagran, MidDay, Cityplus and iNext reported strong revenue this quarter. The company has reported consolidated operating revenues of Rs 470.46 crore, operating profit Rs 132.48 crore, profit before tax (PBT) Rs 99.05 crore and net profit (PAT) of Rs 66.62 crore for Q3 FY 2014-15.
Commenting on the performance of the company for the quarter ending December 31, 2014, Mahendra Mohan Gupta, Chairman and Managing Director of JPL said, “We are happy to present the results for the quarter, which witnessed highest-ever operating profit, coupled with significant improvement in operating margin. Dainik Jagran and MidDay deserve special mention as they performed outstandingly. Even if there is an improvement in the overall economy and business sentiments, it will take some time before it gets translated into higher ad spends.”
Dainik Bhaskar Corp Ltd (DBCL) grew at 8.3 per cent this quarter. The company publishes seven newspapers – Dainik Bhaskar (37 editions), Divya Bhaskar (seven editions) and Divya Marathi (seven editions) and 199 sub-editions in four languages (Hindi, Gujarati, English and Marathi) across 14 states in India. It also owns Saurashtra Samachar, a Gujarati daily.
The company’s consolidated 9M FY 2014-15 total revenues increased by 8.3 per cent to Rs 1540 crore from Rs 1421.4 crore. The advertising revenues shot up by 7.8 per cent to Rs 1162.3 million against Rs 1077.8 million during the corresponding period last year.
“This quarter, we focussed on three core areas – product, content and distribution. A mix of high-quality product, led by innovative content, focus on local news coverage in each region, various ground-activation initiatives to intensify reader engagement and events to welcome greater corporate partnerships have contributed towards improving our reach among readers,” said Sudhir Agarwal, Managing Director, DBCL.
Hindustan Media Ventures Ltd’s total revenue increased by 12 per cent to Rs 223 crore against Rs 199 crore in the corresponding period last year. Advertising revenue increased by 11 per cent, circulation revenue by 11 per cent, EBITDA by 19 per cent to Rs 56.2 crore, EBITDA margin of 25.2 per cent and profit after tax (PAT) increased by 27 per cent to Rs 36.6 crore. The balance sheet position with net cash of Rs 488.6 million for the quarter stood at Rs 4.98 compared with Rs 3.92 in the corresponding period last year.
“We are pleased to report another quarter of revenue growth and higher profitability on the back of lower raw material costs. After establishing ourselves as a strong player in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand while retaining our dominance in Bihar and Jharkhand, we are now focusing on operational efficiencies to ensure revenue growth is accompanied by profit growth,” said Shobhana Bhartia, Chairperson of Hindustan Media Ventures Ltd.
Monica Nayyar Patnaik, Managing Director of Sambad, feels the third quarter was alright. She said, “It picked up a bit, but December was not good at all. The entire quarter was not exciting at all as the festive season was too early this time.” Patnaik added that their business had grown by around 6 per cent, but the group expected around 10-12 per cent.
Publishers say the industry witnessed a growth of around 5-8 per cent in Q3 on an average. “Only October was good due to festivals, November and December were flat. The quarter was average this time and even the industry experienced growth of around 5-8 per cent,” said DD Purkayastha, MD and CEO of ABP Group.
One of the top executives at Navbharat Times said the newspaper has registered a growth of 5-8 per cent. The official said, “Real estate was the least performing sector this time. The Maharashtra elections brought some cheer.”
While ASSOCHAM reported that there would be 30 per cent increase during the festive season in ad spends from brands. However, brands chose the media very cautiously this time around and advertising was divided between different media tools.
KK Goenka, MD of Prabhat Khabar, says, “The business is not growing rapidly. We have experienced an average growth, though the elections helped us boost a bit. But minus the election advertisement, we will be back in single digit growth.”