HT Media Q1 results hit by pandemic

HT Media acquires VCCircle from News Corp

Hindustan Times the flagship English daily of the HT Media group
Hindustan Times the flagship English daily of the HT Media group

On a standalone basis, HT Media’s total revenue at Rs 96.17 crore in Q1 of FY 2020-21, represents a steep 71% drop from the Rs 334.61 crore revenue in Q1 of the previous financial year. HT Media Limited has achieved a consolidated revenue of Rs 239.84 crore in the quarter ending 30 June 2020, representing a drop of 59% from the Rs 588.27 crore figure in the same period in the previous year (FY 2019-20).

The EBITDA loss for Q1 FY2020-21 is Rs 28.39 crore compared to last year’s profit in Q1, which was Rs 89.03 crore. However, the net loss is lower this year at Rs. 55.64 crore compared to the net loss of Rs. 148.07 crore in Q1 of the last financial year.

Acquisition of VCCircle from News Corp

After its board meeting on 28 July 2020, HT Media announced that it would acquire Mosaic Media Ventures from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. Mosaic operates news platforms VCCircle and TechCircle. HT Media will pay up to Rs. 6 crore plus Rs 1 later as a revenue lined milestone payment for 100% of the share capital.

According to HT Media, this strategic acquisition of an emerging B2B company will drive synergies across businesses. “The board of directors accorded approval to invest up to Rs 6 crore post working capital adjustment, and revenue linked milestones payment up to Rs 1 crore on a deferred basis, to acquire 100 % of the paid-up share capital of Mosaic held by NWS Digital Asia Pte Ltd and News Corporation (sellers), subject to finalization of definitive agreements,” submitted HT Media in a regulatory filing.

The company intends to “scale VCCircle and TechCircle to augment Mint’s tech and deals content editorial capabilities.” It also plans to unlock cost and revenue synergies and to leverage VCCircle’s events business while scaling up its database and research businesses.

Mosaic Media Ventures was incorporated in 2007 and operates two subscription-based news platforms – VCCircle and TechCircle. It also has two subscription-based research and database platforms – VCCEdge and SalesEdge. In addition, there is the events business.

Mosaic reported a turnover of Rs 9.1 crore in FY 2017-18; Rs 14.0 crore in FY 2018-19; and Rs 14.5 crore in FY 2019-20. HT Media informed the BSE in its filing that the acquisition will be done in cash and completed by 30 August 2020.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital 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.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Indian Printer and Publisher’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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