Slowing economic growth has hit ad spends in key categories: Shobhana Bhartia

HT Media has reported a 2 per cent increase in its consolidated total revenue for Q2 FY2020 at Rs 580 crore. EBITDA increased by 139 per cent, and margins at 14 per cent vis-à-vis 6 per cent in the previous year, driven by softening of newsprint prices and continued focus on cost. 

Profit Before Tax (PBT) stood at +Rs 6 crore, while Profit After Tax (PAT) is a loss of Rs 22 crore, even as compared to last year, losses have reduced. 

The company has reported that Net Cash position at a consolidated level continues to be strong. 

Shobhana Bhartia, Chairperson and Editorial Director, HT Media Ltd & Hindustan Media Ventures Ltd, commented, “Slowing economic growth has hit advertising spends in key categories, putting pressure on revenues across the media industry. As a result, our Print and Radio (on like to like basis) businesses saw revenues dip as compared to a year-ago. However, thanks to lower commodity prices and a tight control on costs, we saw an improvement in our operating profit. On the digital front, Shine, our online recruitment portal, has shown good progress and continues to grow.” 

Adding further she said, “Our outlook for the coming quarter remains cautious, given overall economic sentiment and macroeconomic trends. Cost-control and falling commodity prices should help protect our margins.” 

Print performance 

Sluggish volumes have resulted in decline in ad revenue, even as yields improved. National advertising continues to be soft, although local advertising witnessed growth. 

Overall operating revenue saw decline on the back of circulation revenue drop as well. 

Meanwhile, savings in raw material costs drove improvement in EBITDA margins. 

Print - English 

There was growth in ad yields during the quarter, although volumes were muted. Local advertising spends witnessed growth. There was sequential growth in circulation revenue although there is a year-on-year decline. 

In terms of categories, BFSI, Real Estate and Auto showed growth, while categories like E-commerce, Entertainment, FMCG, and Retail were muted. 

Print - Hindi 

Ad yield displayed growth as there was revival in local advertising. Ad spend softness was seen in key categories such as Auto, FMCG, Retail, Medical & Health/Fitness. 

Circulation revenue remained flat on sequential basis. 


Operating performance of HT Media’s radio business was impacted by soft advertising environment. Radio revenue (ex-NMW) witnessed a decline of 7 per cent YoY. Integration of ‘Radio One’ is on track. 

Softness was seen in key categories such as Government, Real Estate, Healthcare and BFSI, while FMCG and Automobile categories registered growth.


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