For the five news media groups listed in the Indian stock market, we are able to look at results including the financial year 2022-23 ending 31 March 2023. These groups include DB Corp, Hindustan Media Ventures, HT Media, Jagran Prakashan, and Sandesh. Even though two of these five companies (Hindustan Media Ventures and HT Media) have shown losses for FY 2022-23 and one (HT Media) has incurred losses over the past five financial years, their combined results are better than the overall sample of 35 newspaper groups that includes these five as well. The revenue recovery of these five companies is higher in comparison to our larger sample and the overall industry – again indicating that the recovery is generally stronger amongst the larger newspaper groups.
The other three companies DB Corp, Jagran Media, and Sandesh remained profitable throughout the nine years for which we have assembled the data with EBITDA as a percentage of net sales generally above 22.5% and generally, in most years much higher. DB Corp’s Ebitda to net sales ratio has been lower than 20% in the past two years. The smallest company in this cohort has always maintained an Ebitda to net sales ratio above 31%, which dipped in the two pre-pandemic years FY 2018-19 and FY 2019-20 to 27.79% and 24.4% respectively. In the pandemic year FY 2020-21, Sandesh’s Ebitda to net sales ratio was its highest ever at 54.36%, which has subsequently declined to 48.13% and 41.27% in the just-ended financial year. Well-run Indian-language newspapers remain profitable.