HT Media slips into red in Q2 as rev declines

MUMBAI: HT Media’s has slipped into the red in the second quarter ended 30 September with a consolidated net loss of Rs 42 crore as against Rs 66 crore in the same quarter of the previous fiscal.

The company has a loss at the operating level as well with an EBITDA loss of Rs 19 crore compared to a profit of Rs 95 crore. The company’s operating revenue declined 6% to Rs 513 crore from Rs 545 crore.

The operating profit from print business dropped 93% to Rs 8 crore from Rs 115 crore. Operating revenue was down 9% to Rs 448 crore compared to Rs 491 crore. The operating margin was dented by high price of newsprint and negative operating leverage due to muted growth.

Print ad revenue declined 8% to Rs 353 crore while circulation revenue was up by 4% at Rs 72 crore.

The company said that the continued delay in revival of ad spends, particularly by national advertisers, impacted the ad revenue. Furthermore, the ad revenue faced decline due to the base effect due to postponement of festive season to Q3 FY19 VS spread out of festive season between Q2/Q3 FY18 last year. The circulation revenue grew on the back of Hindi circulation whose revenue growth was driven by the focus on cover price actions.

EBITDA from radio business expanded 31% to Rs 14 crore from Rs 12 crore. Operating revenue was up 11% at Rs 47 crore compared to Rs 42 crore. The strong performance delivered margin expansion due to sharp focus on costs. The company witness robust revenue growth in both existing and new stations as well as the real estate, SME’s and media & entertainment categories showed growth.

HT Media and Hindustan Media Ventures chairperson and Editorial Director Shobhana Bhartia said, “Print advertising is yet to see a revival on account of muted ad spends by national advertisers, further accentuated by the base effect due to the shifting of the festive season to the third quarter of the year. Hindi business showed a recovery in circulation revenue. Our operating performance continues to be adversely impacted by rising commodity prices coupled with the rupee’s depreciation.

“Our Radio business continues to post strong performance with double digit revenue growth along with an improvement in profitability. We are hopeful that the upcoming festive season and the forthcoming parliamentary elections will lead to a resurgence in advertiser sentiment in the second half of the year.”

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