Hari Bhoomi’s FY 2020-21 H1 results subdued by pandemic

Circulation drops drastically in the first half of the year

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Hindi daily Hari Bhoomi
Hindi daily Hari Bhoomi

As reported by Exchange4Media (www.exchange4media.com), the Hindi daily Hari Bhoomi’s revenue was drastically diminished by the Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing total lockdown in the country. The newspaper’s circulation has come down from an average of 8,36,290 copies in the last financial year to 4,07,118 copies daily in the first half of the current financial year from 1 April 2020 to 30 September 2020.

Hari Bhoomi Communications, which owns the Hindi daily and TV channels Janta TV and INH, has reported Rs 0.71 crore net profit on a total operating income of Rs 33.87 crore in the first half of the current financial year. Both circulation and advertising revenues have taken a big hit.

However, like many Indian dailies, there was some cost-cutting on inputs such as newsprint, plates, and inks by decreasing pagination from 16 pages to 12 pages and doing away with supplements.

The decline in Hari Bhoomi‘s revenue precedes the pandemic

Hari Bhoomi’s total operating income declined by 10.4% to Rs 129.25 crore in FY 2019-20 compared to the previous financial year. It managed to achieve a net profit of Rs 64 lakhs for FY 2019-20, which itself is a considerable drop from the Rs 3.13 crore in the previous financial year. 

In FY 2019-20, which ended just a week after the country’s complete lockdown on 23 March 2020, HBC’s television division reported a loss of Rs 3.76 crore on a total operating income of Rs 11.63 crore. The loss contrasts with a profit of Rs 0.23 crore on a smaller operating income of Rs 3.53 crore in FY 2018-19. The company entered the television segment with an acquisition of Hindi news channels in three states, expected to widen to a reach of six states by January 2021. 

Nevertheless, Hari Bhoomi has achieved a stable rating and is not overly leveraged according to its BBB rating by CARE. The post-pandemic environment is extremely competitive for Hindi news dailies, especially with an erosion in circulation that may not return altogether. 

However, Hari Bhoomi represents a part of the pyramid where circulations are not overly inflated, and if the advertising in print returns, print revenues can recover. The television segment expansion may drain its finances. In the best-case scenario, the group’s content and more extensive reach across six states, if quickly differentiated from the competition, may attract advertising support. 

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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