Q1 FY21: HT Media sees 77% decline in ad revenues

Hindi print witnesses lesser impact than English due to the vertical covering regions with lower impact of lockdown restrictions

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jul 29, 2020 8:18 AM

HT Media Ltd has reported net loss of Rs 51.95 crore in the quarter ended June 2020 as compared to Rs 142.48 crore in the quarter ended June 2019.
The total revenue is down by 59% YoY. The total revenue stands at Rs 239.84 crore in the quarter ended June 2020 against Rs 588.27 crore in the previous year quarter. The media company states that the decline was witnessed across businesses mainly led by volume drops. 
In the print business, HT Media reported 77% decline in ad revenues and 37% drop in circulation revenues in the quarter ended June 2020 as compared to previous year quarter. Financial report mentioned that there was a decline in both commercial and government ad revenue streams, and the impact on newspaper distribution affected circulation revenue. It gradually got better over May-June.  
Shobhana Bhartia, Chairperson and Editorial Director,  HT Media Ltd & Hindustan Media Ventures, said, “The quarter started amidst the nationwide lockdown imposed to combat the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic that severely impacted businesses across sectors. This went on to last till the end of May, although many restrictions, especially for business activities, remain in place. The result was a sharp decline in advertising spends, which impacted revenues across our Print and Radio businesses. The impact was higher in the initial period of the quarter, followed by gradual recovery in May and June. We observed a similar trend in circulation revenue, even as we undertook awareness initiatives to educate consumers about the safety and hygiene standards in the newspaper supply chain.”
She added, “Although we undertook immediate cost rationalisation measures, these could not fully counter the sharp decline in revenues. Consequently, operating profitability for the quarter has been adversely affected, although it has been mitigated to some extent by income from treasury operations. It is difficult to estimate the extent and timeline of recovery as this will depend on how the impact of COVID-19 on the economy is contained. However, the company still has more than adequate liquidity to be able to ensure the smooth functioning of operations. Our prime objective is to deliver a quality product to our customers and consumers. We expect financial performance to improve progressively, but gradually, in the coming quarters as the situation normalizes and demand revives. We remain committed to serving our readers, listeners, and advertisers and will remain agile in managing operations in the appropriate manner given the changing environment.” 
In the English Print vertical, which includes Hindustan Times and Mint, the advertising revenue dropped by 82%. The advertising revenue stands at Rs 36 crore in Q1’21 against Rs 198 crores in Q1’20. Whereas, circulation revenue declined by 85% to Rs 2 crore in this quarter as compared to Rs 15 crore in the previous year quarter. 
The media company states that ad revenue de-growth was largely led by lower volumes on account of COVID-19. All advertising categories witnessed softness, led by education, automobiles, real estate, entertainment and retail. 
However,  the Hindi print was impacted lesser than English print vertical due to the vertical covering regions with lower impact of lockdown restrictions. The vertical saw a drop of 70% in ad revenues to Rs 49 crore in this quarter as compared to Rs 164 crore in the previous year quarter. The circulation revenue witnessed a drop of 23%. The revenue stands at Rs 39 crore in Q1’21 versus Rs 50 crore in Q1’20.
HT Media’s radio business too saw a weak operating revenue primarily led by sector-wide volume decline post COVID-19. The operating revenue stands at Rs 8 crore in Q1’21 as compared to Rs 64 crore in Q1’20. It witnessed a sharp decline of 88%. 

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