Revenues decline for Indian newspapers

Q2 FY19-20 financial results

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With digital media taking away a major chunk of ad revenue, the major Indian newspapers struggle to maintain their growth.

HT Media

The net consolidated income for Q2 of FY 19-20 of HT Media, the English daily, news website and radio business of the New Delhi headquartered group, declined from Rs. 540.21 crores in Q1 to Rs. 520.52 in Q2, a drop of 3%.

The company recovered its losses from the previous quarter from Rs. 148 crores to Rs 21 crores but still did not make any profits.

Hindustan Media Ventures

Hindustan Media Ventures, a sister company of HT Media Group that prints English dailies – Hindustan Times and Mint, experienced a 12% drop in consolidated income to Rs. 192.74 crores in Q2 FY 19-20 from Rs. 217.94 crores in Q1.

The company’s profits took a dive from Rs. 20.57 crores in Q2 from Rs. 39.67 crores in Q1.

Jagran Prakashan

The total consolidated income for Q2 of Jagran Prakashan Limited, a Hindi daily with 12 print titles in 5 languages and 100 editions, radio business, and 5 digital brands, was Rs. 514.50 crores as on 20 September 2019, which is almost 12% lesser than the last quarter, Rs 584.28 crores. The total revenue of the Q2 of FY19-20 can be broken down as 80% print, 12% radio, 2% digital, and 8% events and outdoor activities. However, the net profit for Q2 was Rs. 125.91 crores – highest as of yet in FY19-20.

The total ad revenue suffered a loss of 3% in Q2 FY20 in comparison to Q2 FY 19 from Rs 311 crores to Rs. 301 crores. Jagran also experienced a decline in ads from the auto category, which was lower than Q1 FY20 and reduction in prices of newsprint, which will get fully reflected in H2 FY20. In terms of digital, revenue remained flat for print digital at Rs 21 crores in H1 FY20.

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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