HT Media Ltd has announced its Qi FY17 results. As per the results the English Print ad revenue declined by 1.3% yoy while the Hindi Print ad growth stood at 6.7% (IDFCe: 7.5%). Overall Print ad revenue grew by 1.7% yoy marginally ahead of our estimate of 1% yoy. Overall weakness in ad revenue was led by softness in education, BFSI and e-commerce sectors.
EBITDA at Rs 643 million (+8.7% yoy) was 8% below estimates on higher than expected employee expenses. The 8.7% yoy EBITDA growth was led by lower losses in internet division (EBIT loss decreased to Rs 132 million from Rs 239 million yoy) as it lowered its marketing spends. EBITDA margin improved by 40bp to 10.5% (IDFCe: 11.4%).
English segment EBITDA in FY16 was largely flat yoy despite newsprint price deflation reflective of the worsening financial status of HT Media’s core English print business.
Radio revenue grew by 35.3% yoy as it acquired Chennai radio station which was not there in the base and launched its second frequency in Mumbai & Delhi in the beginning of the quarter. LTL growth was strong at 22% yoy. In Mumbai, the second frequency ad rate has been pegged equal to that of the first frequency while in Delhi the second frequency ad rate is almost 60-65% of the first frequency.
Digital business revenue grew by 24.7% yoy while EBIT losses decreased yoy to Rs 132 million from Rs 239 million yoy. FY16 EBIT loss stood at Rs 641 million. Management highlighted that losses in shine.com has come down to Rs 80 million versus Rs~200 million yoy. HT Media guided for cutting the losses by half in its digital segment to Rs 300 million in FY17E.