DB Corp circulation revenue close to 94-95% of Jan-March 2020 levels: Girish Agarwaal

Agarwaal, Non-Executive Director, DB Corp Ltd, mentioned that with the current festive season, the sector’s growth momentum has intensified

e4m by Sonam Saini
Updated: Nov 12, 2021 8:47 AM
Girish Agarwaal

During the Q2 FY22 earnings conference call, Girish Agarwaal, Non-Executive Director, DB Corp Ltd, mentioned that these days they get calls from advertisers asking for a favor for a particular page position. So, this is happening after a brief lull and is believed to be a very positive shift. Several early indicators suggest that consumer confidence is increasing and economic activity is accelerating across the board, added Agarwaal during Q2 and H1 FY2022 post-earnings conference call.

Agarwaal said with the current festive season, the sector’s growth momentum has intensified further and advertisers continue to gravitate towards the most credible medium to reach out to their audience resulting in an upsurge in demand for print advertising space. He further explained that while the second wave of COVID-19 lower circulation by around 10% in the first two months of quarter one of fiscal 2022, their well-calibrated circulation strategy enabled a remarkable recovery and they are now almost nearly at around 94% to 95% of their January-March 2020 levels along with their cover price increase in select markets.

“Our circulation drive efforts not only resulted in the recovery of the lost copies but also it has helped us expand the market share in an average of around 2% to 3% growth in market share YoY in various markets where we operate. We believe, with our superior product offering, efficient distribution network and strong trade connection our group is well poised to further expand its market share going forward", Agarwaal stated.

According to him, as economic activities are accelerating, advertisers are increasingly resorting to hyperlocal Indian language newspapers to maximize their connection with the consumer on the ground. He said, “Local advertising for us which constitutes almost 70% of our overall advertising revenue is growing in the current month by almost double-digit, in few cases strong double digits. Almost every sector is experiencing a resurgent in demand which is further intensified by the current festival season”, he said.

While speaking to analysts, Agarwaal shared that non-metros, the market in which the Dainik Bhaskar group operates are once again driving this economic revival in the country that most sectors experiencing a similar trend of growth. He said, “As a result, our advertising revenue from January to March 2020 level has been almost achieved and we are almost at around 85% of our pre-COVID level in terms of advertising. I would also like to mention here that this 85% which I talked about is also including the decline of the government advertising which we are seeing in various states. If I take that out of the calculation that we are at 94%, 95% of our pre-COVID level number. As all the other sectors like real estate, education, banking, finance, healthcare, they all are really, really dominating the advertising space across newspapers.” 

He also shared that these days they get calls from advertisers asking for a favor for a particular page position. “|This is happening after a period of many months, so it is a very nice feeling. Our cost optimization efforts continue to aid in improving the margins. The print business EBITDA in Q2 of FY2022 came in at around Rs.1219 million with an EBITDA margin of 29% compared to Rs.873 million in Q2 of FY2021. We continue to remain committed to keeping our costs under control and are expected to do almost 50%, 60% of last year’s cost-saving of Rs.195 Crores aiding our margin growth going forward.”

Pawan Agarwal, Deputy Managing Director, DB Corp spoke about the quarter performance. He said while the first quarter was defined by the impact of the second wave which halted the rebound momentum achieved in the second half of fiscal 2021. The second quarter witnessed a very strong economic rebound owing to the accelerated vaccination drive and declining active COVID-19 cases which boosted consumer sentiments and reintroduced a sense of optimism among businesses as evidenced by DB Corp much-improved Q2 FY2022 performance. 

Speaking about the Radio division, Agarwal said that continued efforts towards augmenting audience connect and listener engagement activities through new content creation are bearing fruit. “I am happy to share with you that our market share has increased by around 2% to 3% YoY to 37% in H1 FY2022 further solidifying a leading position in our key markets. MY FM has outperformed its operating markets in terms of ad volume growth. Our ad volume growth increased by 68% in H1 FY2022, while the industry’s ad volume increased by 57%. Radio business saw very strong growth in several key sectors including real estate, banking, and finance, FMCG, education and healthcare", the Deputy Managing Director added.

While talking about the Radio division, Agarwal said that continued efforts towards augmenting audience connect and listener engagement activities through new content creation are bearing fruit. He said, “I am happy to share with you that our market share has increased by around 2% to 3% YoY to 37% in H1 FY2022 further solidifying a leading position in our key markets. MY FM has outperformed its operating markets in terms of ad volume growth. Our ad volume growth increased by 68% in H1 FY2022, while the industry’s ad volume increased by 57%. Radio business saw very strong growth in several key sectors including real estate, banking, and finance, FMCG, education and healthcare.”

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