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.