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HT Media Q2 net down 0.8%, ad revenue degrows due to dip in print ad

MUMBAI: Hindustan Times and Mint publisher HT Media’s net profit fell 0.8% in the quarter ended 30 September as EBITDA growth was offset by higher amortisation and interest costs for new radio stations.

Net profit for the fiscal second quarter stood at Rs 51.2 crore compared to Rs 51.6 crore a year ago.

EBITDA was up by 15.1% at Rs 128.5 crore compared to Rs 111.6 crore in the previous financial year. During the quarter, the company improved its EBITDA margin, which stood at 18.9% vs 17.3% last year.

Total revenue increased 5.2% to Rs 680.2 crore from Rs 646.8 crore even as advertising revenue degrew 2% to Rs 466 crore from Rs 475.5 crore primarily due to degrowth in print ad revenues. Subscription revenue increased 2.4% to Rs 75.6 crore from Rs. 73.8 crore.

Other income increased 42.2% due to MTM gains from fair valuation of investments and increase in revenue from Shine.

The revenue from digital segment increased 9.8% to Rs 37.3 crore from Rs 33.9 crore in the same quarter last year. Shine.com registered revenue growth of 40% in Q2 FY17 vs the same period last year. HT Mobile Solutions witnessed a soft quarter registering revenue degrowth of 25% in Q2 FY17 vs the same period last year.

Radio segment

The revenue from radio segment increased 23.1% to Rs 36.1 crore in Q2 FY17 from Rs 29.3 crore in the same period last year driven by new radio station launches.

Radio EBITDA stood at Rs 6.8 crore with margins at 18.8% vs 28.1% during the same period last year. Dilution in margins has been attributed to expenses related to new radio station launches and the impact of higher licence fee costs.

Commenting on the results and performance, HT Media chairperson and editorial director Shobhana Bhartia said, “Our revenue growth in the quarter was flat, reflecting overall weakness in print media, especially English-language publications. The high base effect of 2015’s Bihar elections on the Hindi business further depressed revenue growth.

“We are looking forward to a better second half, powered by the festive season, a good monsoon, implementation of the seventh Pay Commission’s recommendations, and the upcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh. Our radio business continues to outperform; we have completed the rollout of our Phase III stations, which have all gotten off to a good start. Our digital businesses continue to grow and reduce losses.”