HT Media Q1 net loss widens 45% to Rs 76 crore due to impact of second Covid-19 wave
The print business’ ad revenue increased 55% at Rs 132 crore due to growth in both commercial and government segments
HT Media's net loss for the quarter ended 30th June has widened by 45% to Rs 76 crore, as against Rs 52 crore in the same quarter of the previous fiscal. EBITDA loss widened by 84% to Rs 43 crore from Rs 24 crore.
Consolidated revenue increased 18% to Rs 281 crore from Rs 239 crore. Operating revenue was up 46% at Rs 244 crore from Rs 167 crore due to growth across all businesses. Total expenses jumped by 23.19% to Rs 324 crore from Rs 263 crore in the previous fiscal. There has been increase in paper consumption & newsprint rate versus last year. Raw materials & change in inventory was up 53% at Rs 74 crore from Rs 49 crore.
“Economic activity gathered momentum in the third and fourth quarters of 2020-21, but the second wave of Covid-19 and the surge of infections it brought with it affected the beginning of the new fiscal year. All Indian states imposed lockdowns and restricted movement and activities to combat the surge, the economy took a hit, and advertisers turned cautious. Our learnings from 2020 and the first wave stood us in good stead in this challenging environment. Our operations remained resilient even as we recovered smartly from the lows of the second wave,” HT Media & Hindustan Media Ventures Chairperson and Editorial Director Shobhana Bhartia said.
The print business operating revenue rose 59% to Rs 203 crore. Ad revenue increased 55% growth at Rs 132 crore due to growth in both commercial and government segments. Circulation revenue rose 23% to Rs 50 crore. Operating loss increased 11% to Rs 54 crore due to high newsprint prices and increased consumption with accelerated momentum in circulation. On a sequential basis, the ad revenue declined due to fresh restrictions after Covid-19 wave 2.
The English print ad revenue surged 91% to Rs 69 crore due to growth in ad revenue from both national and local advertisers and sharp increase in ad volumes. The company saw high growth in categories such as Classifieds, Real Estate, E-commerce, and Durables. Government advertisements continued to perform better in a tough environment. Subscription revenue rose 222% to Rs 7 crore due to improvement in both realizations and copies in circulation.
The Hindi print ad revenue was up 29% to Rs 63 crore, driven higher growth in categories like FMCG, Health & Fitness and Automobiles. Circulation revenue increased 12% to 43 crore.
Digital revenue almost doubled to Rs 29 crore from Rs 14 crore, led by growth in Shine Learning, Digital Entertainment and Mosaic Media. The digital business achieved EBITDA break even in Q1’22 compared to an operating loss of Rs 3 crore.
The radio business reported lower operating losses on the back of improvement in ad revenue and restructured cost base. Operating loss from radio business dropped 34% to Rs 16 crore from Rs 25 crore. Operating revenue was up 44% at Rs 12 crore. The company said that the radio operators had a higher impact of Covid-19 due to exposure to MSME and retail clients.
“Advertising revenue in our Print and Radio businesses was better compared to the same quarter last year. Our Shine Business also showed good growth, led by Shine learning. Circulation revenue to continue to improve — sequentially as well as over last year. With infections ebbing, consumer sentiment improving, and business activities almost at pre-pandemic levels, we expect pent-up demand to drive consumer and advertiser spending in the near term, followed by sustained demand as the economy looks up. Our constant focus and endeavour is to offer our audience reliable and engaging news and information, and high-quality entertainment,” Bhartia noted.
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