Profits decline for major Indian dailies

Financial reports of Indian newspapers

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Financial reports of Indian newspapers
Financial reports of Indian newspapers

According to the financial results, the major Indian dailies are unprofitable or stagnant in the face of digitization.

Jagran Prakashan Limited

The standalone income of Jagran Prakashan Limited, a Hindi daily with 12 print titles in 5 languages and 100 editions, a radio business and 5 digital brands, as on 31 March 2019 was Rs 1,965 crore compared to Rs 1,924 crore in the previous year. The total consolidated income of the company as on 31 March 2019 was Rs 2,403 crore compared to Rs 2,350 crore reported in the previous year, a small increase of 2.25%.

The company incurred a total expense of Rs 1,627 crore in FY 2018-19 and Rs 1,524 crore in the previous financial year. The audited profits for FY 2018-19 reported at Rs 337.87 crore represent an 18.6% decrease from the previous financial year, which was Rs 400.79 crore. The total net worth of the company declined in FY 2018-19 to Rs 1339.99 crore from Rs 1521.31 crore in FY 2017-18.

According to Jagran’s investor’s report, the company’s digital revenue growth was 20% for FY 2018-19.

HT Media

The standalone income of HT Media, the English daily, news website and radio business of the New Delhi headquartered group, as on 31 March 2019 was Rs 1,446.83 crore. This represents a decline from income in the previous year which stood at Rs 1,595.59 crore.

The total consolidated income of the company as on 31 March 2019 was Rs 2,435.52 crore compared to and Rs 2,591.68 crore reported in the previous year. The company’s consolidated income suffered a decrease of 6.02%.

The company incurred a total expense of Rs 2,436.82 crore in FY 2018-19 compared to expenses of Rs 2,150.99 crore in the previous financial year. HT Media incurred a loss of Rs 26.91 crore in FY 2018-19 in contrast to the previous year’s profits of Rs 357.88 crore.

According to HT Media’s investor’s report, the company’s digital net revenue decreased by 23.3% to Rs 66.45 crore in FY 2018-19 from Rs 86.67 crore in the previous period. The company has not been profitable in its digital segment although the losses have declined. The loss in digital in FY 2017-18 was Rs 45.32 crore, which has been significantly reduced in FY 2018-19 at Rs 19.27 crore.

Hindustan Media Ventures

The standalone income of the Delhi-headquartered Hindustan Media Ventures (a sister company of the HT Media group, which publishes the Hindustan Times and Mint newspapers in English) for FY 2108-19 is reported at Rs 955.91 crore. This in comparison to Rs 959.56 crore figure in the previous financial year.

The income figures for Hindustan, the company’s Hindi daily, represent a slight decrease for the entity which publishes the Hindi daily in 4 editions and 113 sub-editions. HMV also publishes a children’s magazine, a general interest magazine, and has its own online news portal and event management solutions company.

Expenses at the company rose considerably during FY 2018-19 to Rs 853.6 crore in comparison to Rs 730.01 crore in the previous financial year. The company’s standalone profits declined by 58% to Rs 71.90 crore in FY 2018-19 from Rs 171.22 crore in the previous financial year.

DB Corp

The standalone income of DB Corp, a language daily with 66 editions in 4 languages, 3 magazines, a radio business, an online news portal, a mobile app, and a shopping mall, as on 31 March 2019 was Rs 2,479.3 crore in comparison to Rs 2,352.3 crore in the previous period. The total consolidated income of the company for the two financial years is the same as its standalone income.

The company incurred a total expense of Rs 2,065.61 crore in FY 2018-19 compared to Rs 1,863.7 crore in the previous financial year. The company’s profits reduced by 15.4% from Rs 323.9 crore in FY 2017-18 to Rs 273.84 crore in FY 2018-19. The total net worth of the company declined in FY 2018-19 to Rs 1,826.9 crore from Rs 1,929 crore in FY 2017-18.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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